A photo of Harry Crews adorns the front cover of this collection of two novels, an autobiography, and several essays. He looks mean, tough, a tattoo on his right arm bears the legend, 'How do you like your blue eyed boy, Mr. Death?' Read the autobiography 'A Childhood: A Biography of a Place', and you will find out why. Harry Crews learnt to write by reading Graham Greene's 'The End of the Affair'. He did not just read it, but spent a year taking it apart, bit by bit, to find out how it worked, why it worked. Then he began writing. The novels here pretty much defy description. At the conclusion to one of them I worried I might have nightmares. I didn't, but I could not shake the damn thing out of my head for weeks afterwards. If you have never read Harry Crews before, this is the best place to start.