Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mulching of America” as Want to Read:
The Mulching of America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mulching of America

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  421 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Hickum Looney is determined to win Soaps for Life's annual sales contest - and this year he has an edge. Looney has found that ideal customer: the proverbial little old lady, who swallows all his patter, introduces him to all her friends, and helps him fill a record number of order books. But before he can claim the Cadillac, the trip to Disney World, and the $2,000 in cas ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 24th 1996 by Touchstone (first published 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mulching of America, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Mulching of America

Goodnight, and Thanks for the Vodka by HarpieEdna in the Desert by Maddy LedermanWood, Talc and Mr. J by Chris   RoseThe Kestrel Waters by Randy ThornhornNo Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Regional Grit Lit
15th out of 77 books — 44 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Sound and the Fury by William FaulknerIn Cold Blood by Truman CapoteMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John BerendtAs I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Best Southern Gothic Literature
105th out of 114 books — 273 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 602)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

Truth in Reviewing: I didn't finish this, didn't even make it to page 100. But I read far enough to know that I really just had no desire to punish myself further. Crews mines the seamy underbelly of the white trash south for yuks, and it's funny for a while. But subtlety is not part of his arsenal, so things just get weirder and weirder, until you're in a universe so bizarrely warped, you wonder what the point of reading on might be.

So I could (barely) forgive hi
Not my favorite Crews but still strong on his vivid depiction of out-of-the-mainstream characters and their stories.
Funny and disturbing indictment of the business of sales in America and how it affects the soul - imagine Coupland, O'Connor, Palahniuk thrown together in a blender.
Lynn Demarest
It kills me to give this only three stars, and perhaps the fault is my own, but after a successful takeoff the novel for me seemed to veer off course and sputter out.

The Boss takes on three names (father, son, holy spirit) and then hands over the reigns to the old lady who helped Hickum make his sales record, who turns out to be just as inhuman as he was, sends the boss to the mulcher, where everyone winds up.

Then a murder I didn't care about because I didn't really know Slimy. And then Slimy
Philip Fracassi
Whatever. I don't get Crews. Sorry, wish I did...but I don't.

I don't necessarily trust writers from Florida, in general.
I have not read a better book by Harry Crews.
This is an amazing book!!
I was introduced to Harry Crews when I happened upon a collection of his essays entitled Florida Frenzy and I have to admit that I expected more from this novel than it delivered. I'm not giving up on Crews, but this certainly didn't live up to the hype surrounding him nor the intriguing nature of his essays. It starts out interesting enough, with engrossing characters and a setting that presents Hickum Looney as an everyman living an entirely futile existence. About halfway, the book starts slo ...more
(written 12/02)

Great book about a soap company and soap salesmen. The characters are all perfectly weird, and the Company is some kind of Higher Power. Elmo Jorovah is the Boss (Jehovah?) and the employees, unquestioning, take his Word, the Sales Manual, as law and guidance for their lives. The Manual is often incorrect on purpose, and everything the salesmen say comes straight from it. The Boss seems to see all and hear all, uses his omnipotence to scare everyone into believing. Sounds familiar
Abe Something
Everybody just does what they're told and the world grinds on.

I loved this book. It was my first experience with Harry Crews, who I only knew as the namesake of a Kim Gordon/Lydia Lunch project. Crews is very funny. I thought the plot and movement were a bit like Pynchon crossed with Brautigan, or maybe just a funny Ballard.

Killer book.
"A company of integrity and honor conrtols everything" Such is the credo of Soaps for Life. Join Hickum Looney, ace salesman and glutton for punishment, in his 25th year of door to door activity for the company. Meet The Boss, Ida Mae, Slimy, and a whole cast of surreal characters guaranteed to keep your head spinning from the absurd work Crews delivers. If you enjoy the likes of Thomas Berger and Joseph Heller, Crews is absolutely worth diving into. If you like the straight stuff that doesn't e ...more
Sep 13, 2010 wally rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: crews
another great story from harry crews. a soap salesman, a girl, other folk. harry uses a finnish word in this one, maybe the longest one-word palindrome in the world:

saippuakivikauppias: door to door soap salesman. hickum looney.

"jesus scared the hell out of hickum, not because he was a believer but because he was superstitious."

"people nowadays don't seem to know what's public and what's private. they just go ahead and tell anything and everything."

...hickum, having "caught the scent of blood sp
Ben Brackett
It reads like Crews has become unhinged, which is terrifying considering where he started from.
Jodi Mae
Talk about death of a salesman, of occupy wall street, or corporate control of everything and everyone, of zombie like slaves to the wage. This funny, colorful, horrifying book foresees it all. Written in 1995: Truth is no stranger than strange fiction. The most important book of the 20th century. Should be read by all high school seniors before they make that leap into college and adult world. Maybe it will make them think before they leap into that dark mulch pile abyss.
I am entertained repeatedly by Crews' imaginative situations and off beat characters. He keeps the preaching to a minimum, even though the overarching theme of the corporate workers (slaves) being mulched by the soulless corporation is clear. The work is a Southern Gothic reflection of Death of a Salesmen with a lot more humor. I've like his writing well enough to have gone on to read his novel - Celebration.
Sabrina Robinson
Sep 02, 2007 Sabrina Robinson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves southern culture and not in a condescending way
Shelves: fiction-drama
I didn't get the ending, but after some discussion with others I am going to re-read it. Be prepared to stare in admiration mingled with disgust at the words on the page. Where does he get these people? I live in the south and I worry that I actually do know people like this who seem completely normal to me until I read about them in a book. I think I have lost perspective.
Nick Black
I'd totally forgotten about reading this book until Alan put it on his to-read shelf, and realize now that I don't really remember a single detail :/. I went and opened it up, and recognized the beginning and end, but...what happened to that part of my brain? Alas. Sorry for that rather uninformative review, everyone.
Tom Hancock
This was my first reading of Harry Crews. The Mulching Of America started off pretty good but ran out of gas. However, I did enjoy Harry Crews' style. I want to read The Gospel Singer and Feast Of Snakes. If any one has read them please let me know how they were.
Irl Barefield
for everyone into reading gonzo accoutns of what might be called southern "white trash' culture, written with an endearing fascination.
Funny and less violent than Feast of Snakes. more humor than violence. Awesome ending. Let's stay out of the mulcher.
A terrifying behind-the-scenes look at a soap sales company. I love Harry Crews.
Maybe I am not "deep" enough to get it, but I read all of it and didn't understand it.
One of the best novels by harry crews, they are all so great!

For hardcore Crews fans.
Jeff marked it as to-read
Sep 28, 2015
Lance M
Lance M marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2015
Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2015
Tom Ashworth
Tom Ashworth marked it as to-read
Sep 21, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dirty Work
  • Jujitsu for Christ
  • Yonder Stands Your Orphan
  • Dogs of God
  • Sarah Conley
  • Tabloid Dreams: Stories
  • Pike
  • Poachers
  • The Watch
  • Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine
  • Completely Unexpected Tales
Harry Eugene Crews was born during the Great Depression to sharecroppers in Bacon County, Georgia. His father died when he was an infant and his mother quickly remarried. His mother later moved her sons to Jacksonville, Florida. Crews is twice divorced and is the father of two sons. His eldest son drowned in 1964.

Crews served in the Korean War and, following the war, enrolled at the University of
More about Harry Crews...
A Feast of Snakes A Childhood: The Biography of a Place Classic Crews: A Harry Crews Reader Body The Knockout Artist

Share This Book