R.I.P. Harry Crews

‘His best books combine comedy and moral outrage, which he combined and lighted on the page like diesel fuel. Their swaggering characters had outsize personalities; so did he. A gruff gallery of faces squint from his dust jackets, from the grizzled swamp sage on the back of his 1978 memoir “A Childhood” to the Mohawk haircut and pit-bull grimace he later favored.Mr. Crews wrote about the South’s white poor, a world he knew intimately. He was a tenant farmer’s son, and he felt the burden of his hard upbringing. In an Esquire magazine essay, later collected in a book called “Blood and Grits,” he wrote:

“I was so humiliated by the fact that I was from the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp in the worst hookworm and rickets part of Georgia I could not bear to think of it … Everything I had written had been out of a fear and loathing for what I was and who I was. It was all out of an effort to pretend otherwise.” ‘ (via NYTimes)