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Crews, Harry

set singer story carnival

(US, 1935– )

Born in Bacon County, Georgia, Harry Crews served with the US Marines in the 1950s and graduated from the University of Florida in 1960, though his career has also included spells working as a carnival barker and light heavyweight boxer. His novels are often set among the drifting communities of vagrants, carnival acts, and itinerant preachers of the American South, and The Gospel Singer (1968) is a good starting-point. Set during a religious revival, the book tells the story of a loss of faith and its effects on one of the revival's star attractions, an uncannily gifted singer. Scar Lover (1992) is a novel about the damage caused by abusive relationships, and The Body (1990) is a version of the Pygmalion story set in the world of competitive bodybuilding. Crews shares a fascination with rootlessness and the downbeat Americana of motelrooms and sideshows with the Beat writers, but combines this with balancing insights into American masculinity and obsession.

Charles Bukowski, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway  WB

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