Friday, December 09, 2011

Friday Reading Assignment 12/9/11: Gritty

This week's assignment, A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews, belongs to the Grit Lit genre, which means (as I understand it) painfully realistic, darkly comic literature, set in the American south.  A Feast of Snakes has it all:  sex, violence, crime, murder, and high school football.  It's set in the town of Mystic, Georgia, which is about to host its annual event, the Rattlesnake Roundup.  Readers may have difficulty with the misogyny and the violence--I found the abuse of pit bulls and their fights to be particularly upsetting.  Nevertheless, it was this sort of lit--Flannery O'Connor's writing is a precursor of the style--that made me think I might be able to tolerate living in the South.  In college, I was an ardent admirer of southern lit.  I actually felt that I needed to live in the south to become a better writer.  It's still my opinion that the south has a richer literary tradition than the north.   A Feast of Snakes is a tragicomic white trash opera.  I love it because of its unashamed declaration that people are bastards.

5 comments:

  1. Years ago I read "Body" by Harry Crews. I don't remember much about it other than it was over the top and entertaining.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Huh. While I love books, Southern or otherwise, animal violence would ensure that I can't see past it. I had to shelve Water for Elephants for that reason too. Thanks for the warning, and I rather agree with the theme.

    ReplyDelete
  3. " I love it because of its unashamed declaration that people are bastards."

    Thanks, but I already knew that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I tolerate a lot of misogyny and violence in my serial-killer books. I don't appreciate it as much in Literary Works. Maybe because in Literary Works I feel obligated to hang on every word.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I read The Knockout Artist by Crews once upon a time. He certainly is a very visceral writer.

    ReplyDelete