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(01/06/2009) Naked In Garden Hills by Harry Crews. New York. 1969. Morrow. keywords: Literature America. 215 pages. Jacket design by Paul Bacon Studio.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   When Harry Crews' first novel, THE GOSPEL SINGER, was published early in 1968, it received high praise from such novelists as Richard E. Kim and Andrew Lytle. In the Richmond News Leader, Robert P. Hilldrup called the book 'altogether the best piece of fiction this reviewer has seen come out of the South since Jesse Hill Ford's THE LIBERATION OF LORD BYRON JONES. ' But no amount of praise could have prepared any reader for so brilliant an encore as NAKED IN GARDEN HILLS. This new novel tells the story of a corrupted paradise, the Florida-peninsula town of Garden Hills, which once flourished as the site of the world's largest phosphate mine and now is nearly abandoned, decrepit. Fat Man, the town's impotent king, a Metrecal addict and frightened conservative, engages in a bizarre struggle for control of the town's destiny with Dolly, its queen, its seductive virgin, who wants Garden Hills to join the modern world. One of them triumphs, and in so doing brings degradation upon the other in a shattering final scene. The Hunting Publishing Company, in reviewing THE GOSPEL SINGER, said, 'The climactic scene. is one of literature's memorable moments. ' But the climax of NAKED IN GARDEN HILLS eclipses even that. A parable of great insight, a story that moves swiftly with high suspense, this book should surely establish Harry Crews as one of America's most brilliant and original novelists. 'Macabre and slapstick, howlingly funny and as sad as a zoo, ribald, admonitory, wry and deeply fond, NAKED IN GARDEN HILLS lives up to and beyond the shining promise of Mr. Crews' first novel, THE GOSPEL SINGER. It is southern Gothic at its best, a Hieronymous Bosch landscape in Dixie inhabited by monstrous, darling pets.'-- JEAN STAFFORD, N. Y. Times Book Review.

 

 

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