Read The Gospel Singer by Harry Crews Online


Sex and Salvation. He had two priceless assets. Both were God-given. One was his voice. From coast to coast it held millions of TV viewers spellbound, hearing the gospel songs of the South as they never had been sung before. The other was his animal good looks. His virility had conquered a willing army of women as his life turned into an unending orgy of compulsive sexualiSex and Salvation. He had two priceless assets. Both were God-given. One was his voice. From coast to coast it held millions of TV viewers spellbound, hearing the gospel songs of the South as they never had been sung before. The other was his animal good looks. His virility had conquered a willing army of women as his life turned into an unending orgy of compulsive sexuality. Now on the crest of his fame, he had returned to the Georgia town that had spawned him. Here he would rise to new heights--and sink to unimaginable depths....

Title : The Gospel Singer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 22400626
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 211 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Gospel Singer Reviews

  • Laura
    2019-02-21 17:26

    What a book! It's one of those books that I would use some caution as to whom I may recommend. Ummm, I probably missed something but I never saw "that" ending coming. Crews is an amazing writer and exposes you to some interesting (to put it mildly) characters. I think I was expecting less from Crews because it was his debut novel, however I was completely blown away and should have never passed that judgement. "Judgement".....hmmm that could be the word to explain(if it can be explained) this entire book.

  • Camie
    2019-01-29 11:16

    A great precautionary tale about The Gospel Singer , who with both physical beauty and the grandeur of his voice is able to rise high above the status of his poor pig farming past. But there is trouble looming when after becoming wildly famous he returns to his hometown and people have come to expect miracles and healing from him. A case where the illusion is far different than the man, and he knows and suffers for it. Third and best book yet I've read by Harry Crews.

  • Ned
    2019-02-14 18:30

    I’m a fan of Crews, frustrated by how hard it is to acquire his books (why don’t they get reprinted?). I fear he will be lost to history and as his memory is erased so goes my existence. As his first book, the un-named gospel singer is morally repugnant yet treated as holy by the hordes who see his beauty and godliness in his voice. People are saved on the spot and he merely takes advantage of his pickings, burying himself in lust. Everyone wants a piece of him, even the killer of his sexual nemesis. This novel is aswath in deep southern poverty-stricken pathos. The writing is sharp and the moralism exudes in spite of itself. Crews is shocking today, beyond O’Connor and Welty, and goes deep into pathopsychology. The writing is sharp, and the characters memorable. Deep racism, so far beyond normal is nearly un-recognizable in this scramble. Even the black man in a small southern prison, fearing his own lynching, is seduced (p. 11): “..the Gospel Singer’s voice slipped out into his cabin, it was balm poured into a wound. Nothing mattered. The world dropped down a great big hole. Everything- whether it was a razor cut, or a tar-scalded eye, or a burning case of clap off a Tifton high-yellow whore- everything quit but that voice and it went in his head and down his flesh to where his soul slept. And he could stand whatever it was for another week.”You’ll find freaks galore, hogs in homes, tobacco sucking women, seductive nymphets, a crazed religious manager and all manner of people in this book. The protagonist is touched by god, or so all the supplicants believe in spite of his protestations. He can’t escape, the will is on him and he must pursue his fate and the end will always be shatteringly cruel (thank you Harry). (p. 53) “…the people would stand nervously about, secretly touching him, whispering impossible requests in his ears, always there at his back like hungry doges over red meat. He would be forced to stand in their midst, impotent, castrated by his inability to relieve their suffering. All he could do was bleed for them, bleed for their ignorance and the condition of their world.”Through these misanthropes somehow a dialectic arises (p. 82) “..If evil gave the opportunity for good, it ceased to be evil; if evil set into motion a chain of events that caused an eventual good, larger than the original evil, then it ceased to be evil. He had seen the logic of that once. And from that logi he had concluded that pain and suffering was God’s greatest gift to man… His mother, of course, had confirmed the reasoning. As she pointed out, without suffering there can be no hope for martyrdom.” Nietzsche would be proud.The fine writing and the writhing of this sadly beautiful boy are but tragedy of the highest order. I’ll keep Crews on my top shelf.

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-01-23 16:25

    This is a fabulous but really quite insane novel about a guy who lives in the South of the USA and has a golden voice which he puts to good use doing the Lord's work. Well, yeah, that's a little tiny part of the story. The rest is pure mayhem, people doing dreadful things to each other and what's worse, to animals too, there ought to be a law. Although the way Harry Crews tells it, down there it's illegal NOT to do these things. Which I am not about to describe cause you may be at work reading this and your colleague may be looking idly at your screen and should I be typing up some of the stuff in these pages, that colleague will surely never say yes if you ask him or her out for a Bacardi Breezer next Saturday. He or she will think you're a tragic weirdo, and however much you say "it's just a book review site", your moment will have gone forever and word will go round your office like wildfire.So I'm not going to describe any of the things that happen in this novel.But it does contain amidst the wreckage a very profound truth about Elvis Presley, the obvious real world version of The Gospel Singer in the novel. It's along the lines that people began to think Elvis was a kind of magical being with special powers, and he couldn't stop them thinking and feeling that, and the intensity of their projections on him actually did make a kind of shared hallucinatory magic, and he couldn't control it. He made the amber and he was the fly that got stuck in it. It makes the argument that Elvis (who I stress is not named in this novel nor alluded to, this is a book about a gospel singer and Elvis only sang gospel on two albums) was engaged in this hideous inner conflict with himself, his power, his talent, his popularity – that he could see clearly that it could be a terrible murderous thing and that’s why he buried himself for ten of his prime years, and that’s why he self-destructed and died aged 42. I think it’s a theory with a great deal of merit – you could write a thick long list of the stuff Elvis SHOULD have done, and COULD SO VERY EASILY have done in those crap years from 1960 to 1967 and he did nary a one of them. The Colonel Tom Parker Brainwashed the Poor Ignorant Bastard theory is quite funny but hardly credible. Elvis could have crushed the Colonel with the raising of his left eyebrow.So anyway, Harry Crews is a crazy guy and this was a novel which twanged round my head for months. Still does. I wanna reread it!Also - what a cover.

  • Cody
    2019-02-13 16:35

    The Gospel Singer is a veritable case study in Southern Gothic. All the usual suspects are present and accounted for: crown of thorn-twisted religiosity, atrocious subjugation of Blacks, fucking in the outdoors, et. al. What distinguishes Crews’ first novel is his idiosyncratic voice—even here in its nascent form, you sense that you’re reading an original with something special about the eyes. If Flannery O’Connor had picked up a bottle of Early Times instead of a fatal case of lupus, she might have written a not dissimilar book. As it happens, ye Gods had other plans for the Madame, and, in my unqualified opinion, Crews was the only author who had any rightful claim to her throne. Though he never attained it (no one has), he came mighty goddamn close here and in a few other bright spots in his career.Side note: this review is a case study all its own in why you should write your reviews as fast to finishing a book as possible. With Leon Forrest and no less than Herman Fucking Melville (what a middle name!) having clogged my brainpipe since finishing this, I can’t think of a proper way to sing the substantial praises it entirely deserves. Let it be said that this book is a whole backseat's bonk of immoral fun with some imagistic flashes of brilliance. Crews, to me, is a great cleanser in between heavier fare. If that makes him sound like a laxative, then I say poo—I’m taking my ball and going home.

  • Jamie
    2019-02-08 15:27

    I’m debunking the theory that your first Crews is your favorite. Or, at the very least, I’m proving myself the exception to the rule. Every Crews I’ve read has been a steady hike uphill, starting with A Feast of Snakes, on to A Childhood, and now, the latest but certainly not last: The Gospel Singer. It’s A Feast of Snakes meets Darin Morgan’s “Humbug” meets The Apostle, and that’s just where I’m trying to come up with a sentence that, had I told it to myself before I ever opened the cover, would have given me a hint of just how much I might love this. It still falls woefully short of doing the book justice. It’s a mix of freaks and geeks and saints and sinners that only Harry Crews can write. And that’s leaving out the part where it’s my favorite story structure, too. Where you take pass after pass at the story, and each pass through a different character’s eyes adds layers you couldn’t have imagined at first. Shapes you wouldn’t think possible, until they’re only the shapes that make profound and perfect sense. At this rate, the only thing I’m wary of is how much I might like which Crews I read next.

  • Kirk Smith
    2019-01-29 13:38

    I propose this book as the canon of Southern Grotesque. The best I've read from Crews. Everything I want in one book, a joy and a pleasure to read!! I was surprised to see it was released in 1968. The addition of 1994's Where Does One Go When There's No Place Left To Go? was a wonderful and hilarious bonus!

  • Greg
    2019-02-06 15:15

    There is something about the book that didn't quite grab me. This is Harry Crews first novel, and it's something of a mix between Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. I felt like I had read this story before. If I wasn't so lazy I'd add the edition that I read, and put up the lurid 1968 mass market cover on it which looks like something a romance novel would have on it. The cover says it's a torrid novel, and the in big letters on the back the word SEX is written, with And Salvation a bit smaller. This book was obviously being sold as a cheap read, and maybe it's reading the book in this format instead of with the dark cover I see above these words for a later edition that makes me not able to stop thinking of the book as a pulp, sex and violence version of Faulkner, sort of like when Faulkner attempted to dive into the cheap thrills market with Soldier's Pay. Knowing that Crews later became a respected writer adds something to the quality of this book, but I'm not sure if I would think much of it if I didn't already have his name attached to it. Lots of sex is mentioned (not actually written about as it's happening), freaks, violence and degenerate backwoods Southerns. A fun read but too close to the cookie cutter form of the lurid pulp novel to make it much more than fun for me.

  • Charles White
    2019-01-29 14:13

    I used to think FEAST OF SNAKES was his best novel. I don't think that anymore.

  • Guille
    2019-01-31 12:24

    Estamos en el sur americano y con un ritmo algo lento en sus principios los acontecimientos se van sucediendo de forma cada vez más angustiosa. Poco a poco, vamos conociendo la vida y los personajes que rodean dramática y literalmente a este cantante de gospel, a este mesías irreconciliable con su causa, atormentado por su farsa ante la multitud de impedidos o deformes, física o espiritualmente, que van tras sus pasos. Un mesías que quiere huir de sus orígenes, de esa gente que gusta de refocilarse en su barbarie, que renuncia a cualquier clase de ayuda como si ello significara reconocer su fracaso, exponer sus taras al mundo. Un mesías que quiere huir de su María Magdalena a base de profanar su capilla una y otra vez en una viciosa escalada sin salida. Y frente a este mesías de alma atormentada que encarna ese ser sobresaliente de voz divina, tenemos al otro, que, procedente de lo más selecto de la ciudadanía americana y con una deformidad ridícula, posee unas enormes ganas de disfrutar de la vida y la sabiduría más que suficiente para conseguirlo, por muy grotesco que sea el camino. Puede que no sea un libro perfecto (no hay que olvidar que es una primera novela) pero suena a verdad este sencillo relato que Crews nos regala sobre la culpa y la necesidad de esperanza o de justificación del fracaso.

  • LouLou
    2019-02-18 15:26

    Crews' first novel published in 1968, the story centres around a gifted, deified singer returning to his poor hometown and a life and family he is so far removed from he now holds in contempt. The novel is as relevant today as when it was published, The Gospel Singer reveals the absurd blind faith of those who follow religion and idol worship, and the hypocrisy that results when sex and money are offered, its a vicious chain of flesh eating off flesh. The main protagonist is the aforementioned Gospel Singer, other characters include his manager, a dead girl awaiting his melodic eulogy, his dysfunctional family of swamp dwelling pig loving simpletons, a murderer, the fevered townsfolk and the ever present shadow of a travelling freak show. It's a highly enjoyable book that covers the two day visit of the Gospel Singer, stepping back in places to divulge the secrets of each character, and as such confusing judgements of empathy and disdain. If you like Southern Gothic loaded with sex, death, religion and freaks then i cant recommend this highly enough ....

  • Mariano Hortal
    2019-02-21 18:13

    Inmensa macarrada con sentido la de Crews en la que fue su novela debut y que ha constituido mi bautismo de fuego del autor. Una historia mesiánica que adquiere proporciones épicas en el final y en la que no falta el buen humor al entrelazar un cantante de góspel con un circo de freaks y un pueblo de paletos supersticiosos del medio oeste norteamericano. Un cóctel explosivo que pretende reflejar de alguna manera la sociedad norteamericana y su desintegración de una manera como mínimo jocosa y que consigue la leas sin aparente esfuerzo. Un hasta pronto en toda la regla.

  • Dustincecil
    2019-02-11 11:22

    a goddam gem!!!

  • Michael Whitaker
    2019-01-21 11:35

    I've read a lot of Harry Crews. I started with "Celebration" and I loved it. I had never read anything so wildly Southern and strange. I knew I had to trace him down, finding used copies wherever I could. Since then, there's been plenty of disappointments, but this morning, finishing "The Gospel Singer," I know Crews will always be near the top of my list of favorite authors. God rest his soul.I don't even know what to write in my review without giving spoilers. Suffice it to say, The Gospel Singer has left Enigma, GA for a life of luxury and silk drawers and nice hotels and hot, hot women and he can't stop coming back to the sick, strange place from whence he came. He is plagued by sexuality and self doubt and sickened by all those that love him so much, especially those from his hometown, those that want his touch, his healing, his voice to bring them salvation.He can't meet their expectation. Or can he?One of my favorite scene's in the book takes place in the funeral parlor where the keeper's daughter is blind and is under the impression from her father that if she touches the Gospel Singer's face and truly believes she will see again, she will, in fact, see. She's heard her whole life how beautiful he is, how perfect he is, how he is God-in-flesh-in-Enigma. She pinches his face, pulls his cheeks, hurts him, and says, more or less, he aint nothin special. And yet, they have this moment. While the Gospel Singer is struggling with his morality and the girl is struggling with her blindness and accused lack of faith, the girl says "It's awful hard to believe... You don't know how to try." It's the perfect picture. The Gospel Singer, sinner of all long blond haired, honey-voiced, Caddilac escorted sinners, wants to be something else. He wants to believe in God as more than some silly superstition. He wants to behave. He wants to be good. He wants to do something more for the swarms of people that look to him. But he doesn't know how. He is what he is and he's likely to be doing the no-pants dance with any woman who has a religious experience at his show. How do we try? Is it even worth while?To me, that's the crux of this story. What good is trying to be good? No one is good at it. The little blind girl can't even be kind about it, pinching the Gospel Singer's face. She says he's more ordinary than anything else. We're all so ordinary.There's a lot to love about this story and, with time, and another reading which I am sure I'll do, this may become one of my favorite novels. There's mania. The dependency. The town of Enigma and the world as a whole latching on to whatever salvation that comes their way. The zeal. And I haven't even mentioned the freak show, Foot and his namesake. I haven't mentioned Didymus and his Dream Book. I haven't mentioned the ghost that haunts the Gospel Singer, a white man who hounds him for healing, wasting away in his clothes, his skin somehow black. I haven't mentioned the Gospel Singer's parents who light their million dollar homes with lamps and remove the fuses when he's gone. They just like to see him plug them back in and oooh and aaah when the lights come on. I haven't mentioned the brothers and sisters. I haven't mentioned Willalee Bookatee or MaryBell Carter. I haven't mentioned the completely off the walls, bonkers out of this world CHURCH they founded. I haven't mentioned much.In a lot of ways, this story reminds me of "Celebration." The tent revival brings to mind the maypole. No one catches fervor the way Harry Crews does.And anyone that uses the line "she smelled like something shot in the woods" will keep me combing through uses bookstores for any old thing I can find.

  • Hal Brodsky
    2019-02-06 16:13

    Harry Crews's books seem to get better with each reading. Perhaps this is because the reader can stop following the bizarre twists and turns of the plot line and focus on and appreciate the craftsmanship of the writing itself. The Gospel Singer is Crews's first book, and the story of the return to Enigma,Georgia (the little town in the swamp where the highway suddenly ends) of the town's favorite son, a sinning, womanizing singer of gospel songs who the townspeople believe can cure the sick and perhaps even raise the dead, starting with the recently murdered girlfriend of the Gospel Singer who is embalmed and laying in wait in the town funeral parlor.Meanwhile, The Gospel Singer's siblings have their own plots to escape Enigma, and a carnival of side show freaks is hot on his trail.My only complaint with the book is it's typical Harry Crews ending which, while climactic, final and memorable, resolves the tale for the characters without allowing them to grow and resolve their problems.

  • wally
    2019-02-08 11:40

    my copy is a dell paperback, 95cents on the cover, the gospel singer and two women standing there, "a torrid novel by harry crews" in block lettering at the bottom.i believe this was crews's first novel. "men to whom god is dead worship one another."i've read this one several times. the gospel singer returns to enigma, georgia. home. family. friends. willalle bookatee is in jail. the people believe the gospel singer can do no wrong. the gospel singer has a manager. things happen.the gospel singer has an incredible voice, incredible looks, and he uses both to get what he needs, wants. i think any quarterback and then some in the s.e.c. is held in the same esteem. and so it goes.

  • Jason
    2019-02-10 18:43

    Like I said before, Crews knows sadness. Be prepared. And it's also a little funny, in a dark way. What makes this one sad is how people worship the gospel singer, who is completely undeserving. When you get down to it, a truly evil person. Not evil in the stereotypical ways, like killing kittens. But evil in the way Humbert Humbert is evil, or evil in the way a person knowingly turns someone else into something worse. But at the same time you feel bad for the gospel singer. You wonder if he might have turned out better without the fame, and especially without the fame that he received - a man sent from God with a voice that heals.

  • Eric Stone
    2019-02-03 15:39

    A wonderful sad, funny, fascinating book. I always associate it with Flannery O' Conner's Wise Blood, another of my favorites.

  • Al Kratz
    2019-02-05 11:14

    Classic Crews and a must read for fans. Parts got a little long and repetitive. Might have worked as a short story just as well. Having read Blood and Marrow, it seems this might be from his approach to not killing darlings or taking editorial feedback positively. Feast of snakes remains my favorite and all we need of hell is better but this one might be better than knockout artist. Foot was an unleveraged character for as weird as he was, he didn’t even really serve subplot functions. Same with brother Gerd and even the jailed. More reasons for it to be novella or short story.

  • Christopher Renberg
    2019-01-31 17:42

    I first encountered this book in graduate school. It stunned me then and continues to do so today. The southern gothic and grotesque may not be for everyone to be sure. For me, it worked and this is a book I return to every now and again.

  • Luke Pajowski
    2019-02-08 19:37

    It's Enigma, Georgia. The first stop in Crews Country. A place where people are so desperate to believe in miracles that they infuse all their hopes into The Gospel Singer. This book had an unforgettable ending that I was not expecting.

  • Stephen Roberts
    2019-01-27 18:33

    One of the best.

  • Scott Ray
    2019-02-08 19:18

    This one definitely shows its age, but what an insane ride.

  • Richard
    2019-01-30 12:37

    A sage who left another comment about this book said something to the effect of "Your first Crews is your best." Although I wouldn't wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, I must admit that I started withA Feast of Snakes, and though some have come close to that caliber, and some have stepped above it (without doubtA Childhood: The Biography of a Plce), this one did feel like the makings of Crews but not quite on the mark yet. My main objection might be that there is a lot of introspection and flashback through the center of the book, and for a while the present action seems stilted, more of a setup to have characters brood and reminisce rather than move forward. Though the ending has the kind of Crews-gothic hyperbole, it didn't have the kind of convincing tone that he was to pull off in Snakes orThe Gyspsy's Curse, mainly because he hadn't taken the extravagant action to set up the outrageous action to come. Harry is a fine man and a fine teacher, and bud, this is a fine book, but not one to take your socks and sling them where the sun don't shine.

  • Sherry Sidwell
    2019-02-08 11:41

    "The letters poured in upon him wherever he was, begging him to come home, insisting, almost demanding, that he come back to Enigma and be with his own kind. But they were not his own kind, and had not been since he had found the gospel singing voice and probably were not even before that. Probably they had not been his own kind since he had been marked at birth with a kind of beauty that none of them had ever seen before. And the time had come when he couldn't even answer the letters himself because as the months went by it became harder and harder to lie to them, to tell them he missed them, to tell them he wished he was back home in Enigma, when in point of fact his every inclination was to bury Enigma, to deny that it had ever existed or that he was ever part of it."Harry Crews' first outing, I love this book so much I stole a much neglected copy out of a public library two decades ago just to make sure it was properly loved and cared for. Few books will ever capture the raw weirdness of not belonging and not much wanting to.

  • Paraíso Cuatro
    2019-02-02 16:28

    Acuarela Libros, junto con Antonio Machado Libros, nos trae la primera novela del incomparable Harry Crews. El cantante de Gospel, publicado originalmente en 1968, supone el debut de uno de los autores malditos del gótico sureño que más patadas en la boca ha dado. Aunque las ventas no siempre le acompañasen. En esta irrepetible novela, el pueblo de Enigma recibe en una visita agridulce a su mayor tesoro, a su hijo prodigio: el cantante de Gospel. Un muchacho de rizos dorados, belleza excepcional y una voz para cantar la palabra de Dios como nunca se ha escuchado antes. El cantante de Gospel regresa a Enigma en el marco del asesinato de su antigua novia, MaryBell, a manos de un negro y de la visita del circo del misterioso Pie: un enano con un pie gigante. El espectáculo de freaks está servido.Reseña completa de Francisco Espinosa para

  • Amy
    2019-01-31 12:35

    I think Harry Crews books might work in the way that whatever one you read first is your favorite. (Mine happened to be Feast of Snakes). Gospel Singer potentially has more going for it...the weird salvation/sexual connection is pretty interesting and backwards small town life (complete with a freak show) makes for richly entertaining reads. But the deal with every Crews book is that it serves purely as's really easy and usually possessing some degree of shock value that wears off quickly...I think it's safe to assume that some scenes will involve graphic sex and some amount of violence, but that being said, Crews is good at what he does: fucked-up Southern stories...

  • Mister Jones
    2019-02-10 17:25

    This is it; the one book that kick it in for me and knocked me off my feet. Crews' writing has a sensitivity and purity of prose that reveals the rawness of the southern grotesque along with its unforgettable characters. The Gospel Singer has all of that and then some. Get it with a side order of pork rinds and a cold draft, and praise the lord--you're going to need him. I think I'll read it again.

  • Aramys
    2019-02-03 11:29

    Así como Cuerpo es una novela más estática, casi como una sitcom, El cantante de Gospel es una historia viva, una historia que va in crescendo, mucho más oscura, sexual, violenta y decadente, una primera novela tan impresionante que os va a joder el resto de lecturas a partir de este momento.https://viajealrededordeunamesa.wordp...

  • Brandon
    2019-02-08 18:24

    Harry Crews' first novel. A story of what can happen when a person is, sometimes undeservedly, put on a pedestal and worshiped like some kind of deity. This book, as well as most of what I've read by Crews, is so twisted and wrong and yet is somehow touching at times. A dark dark book that'll make you think. I think I may want to attempt to adapt this into a play.