A Feast of Snakes: A Novel Paperback – 7 Jan 1998
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A brief but stunning novel set around a former American Footballer in rural South Georgia.
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Top Customer Reviews
In Joe Lon Mackey, we are brought an unforgettable example of near-success and public short-term memory. _A Feast of Snakes_' main character is unable to come to terms with his lost football star fame and liquor-selling future. As the locals and tourists gather to hunt and consume Mystic's rattlesnake population, Joe Lon's fate and hollow memories consume him and propel him towards his destiny.
I read _A Feast of Snakes_ for the first time five months ago, and the hollow spaces in my guts still reverberate from its stark and powerful impact. Not since reading _Heart of Darkness_ have I been so awestricken by one man's writing. Crews' prose is as hard and earthy as his characters. His portrayal of Mystic, Georgia remind me of the fearful travels I've taken to the Low Country and the "Dark Corner" of my native South Carolina. Mystic's inhabitants share the same unflinching grotesqueness of the people that lived down the dirt roads and in the screen-doored country stores of my childhood. And their spawn who we only saw on the schoolbus: thier childhoods already as misshapen as their teeth. The shadows of these eerie places and freakish people are resurrected in _A Feast of Snakes_.
But the more I talk, the less I describe _A Feast of Snakes_. You will be as speechless as I was when I put it down. END
It's set in Mystic, Georgia during the build up to a Rattlesnake Roundup that's become a little too successful for the small town to handle.
Joe Lon Mackey is an ex-football player whose career is over at a young age. To take the edge off his sense of failure he's turned to the bottle and still tries to maintain his top-dog status in the area.
He has a hard-nosed father (Big Joe Lon) who has a talent for dog-fighting, a damaged sister who stays in bed all day watching TV, a sheriff friend who likes to play with young girls, a saintly wife and two children and a hot lust for an ex-girlfriend who has returned to Mystic from college.
The opening at a football game is full of energy - sexual, violent and disturbing - and pregnant with the bizarre. It's clear from the off that this book is going to be out of the ordinary and that understanding is powerfully underlined as it continues.
There are some very strong elements that a reader can hold on to. There's the subtle depiction of racial relations and the way people work within the boundaries of time and place. There's an existential slant to the examination of purpose and the implications of losing direction whether that be through age or accident. There's a view of the power within relationships on a small and larger scale and that damage that can be done when power is the only tool one has in the box. There are thoughts on madness and the thin ice that we all tread upon. We also get to see the extremes of complete control and absolute anarchy and the dangers of each extreme.
The plot is a gently meandering one is some ways.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book and if you like Harry Crews the author, I say hunt down Harry Crews the band. Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordon & Sadie Mae careering thru Harry Crew's stories!Published on 22 April 2014 by Martin F. Quinn
I really like Harry Crews stuff. I got this one after reading 'Car' and 'The Gypsies Curse' and loved it just as much. It's dark and violent and very enjoyable.Published on 25 July 2013 by Colin Macklin
"The annual rattlesnake round-up in Mystic, Georgia bears no relation to 'Whacking Day' in The Simpsons at all! Read morePublished on 30 July 2008 by Annabel Gaskell
Of the several Harry Crews books I've read so far, 'A Feast of Snakes' is my favourite. It conjures up a view of the South that is both very real & yet unreal. Read morePublished on 2 Dec. 2007 by Amazon Customer
Wonderful, disturbing Southern Gothic. An unsettling yarn that "sticks to the ribs". As usual, a Crewes novel that joins David Lynch and William Faulkner. Read morePublished on 23 Aug. 1998