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A Crackup at the Race Riots

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  699 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
The original Ritalin kid, Harmony Korine burst on the scene with Kids, a film so gritty and unsettling in its depiction of teen life that it was slapped with an NC-17 rating and banned in some theaters across the country. In some ways, the media frenzy over the rating overshadowed the harrowing portrait of teenagers destroying their lives and the then twenty-one-year-old s ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 6th 1998 by Doubleday
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Winter Branch
Jun 13, 2007 Winter Branch rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gummo fans, alternative literature fans (??)
Shelves: fiction
For a couple of years this was my favorite book of all time. Even today I can't help but get excited when reading it.
Harmony Korine's book has no flowing narrative. Instead this book is a collection of a bunch of seemingly random things. Such as strange lists:

Titles of Books I Will Write:
1. A Life WIthout Pigment
5. Gentle Jesus and Drugs
21. Diary of Anne Frank part 2

4. Ray Bradbury had scoliosis
12. G. G. Allin voted for Jimmy Carter
18. Johnny Rotten collects baseball cards
21. Tom Petty has
Michael Seidlinger
Jun 15, 2013 Michael Seidlinger rated it really liked it
This is a review of a book that is incapable of being reviewed, simply due to how it reads differently every time I return to it. Much like Korine's filmography, A Crackup at the Race Riots teeters between the liquid narrative embedded into the page and the imagery the reader can't help but be possessed.

Besides, if you think about it, every fragment is a scene in someone's life.
Matt Margo
"The book is called, 'A Crackup at the Race Riots.' Harmony Korine wrote it, although he can't really recommend it." -- David Letterman

To me, there is something majestically and inarguably captivating about this first novel from the so-called "enfant terrible" of dramatic independent film. Its synopsis states clearly that no plot, linear narrative, character development, or scene setting exists. Everything is somehow connected though, as each and every page investigates and/or muses upon the fra
Laryssa gervan
Aug 19, 2008 Laryssa gervan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in the deep dark seamy underbelly of the human soul.
Recommended to Laryssa by: was first a fan of harmony korine's movies.
i've read this a few times now and i think i love it. it's fantastic and terrible. it's beautiful, if you're willing to see the beauty in our ugliest parts.

harmony korine also writes and directs movies. 'kids' and 'gummo', anyone? it's my projection that if you like his film work you will like this book, and if you do not like his film work you will not like this book at all.

for practical purposes, this book is "a sequence of half-remembered scenes, suicide notes, dialogue fragments, movie idea
Christina knox
Mar 19, 2008 Christina knox rated it it was amazing
One of those gems that seems less and less in left field with every passing year. it kind of seems like the print version of some ironic art school hipster's blog now, yet when it came out, no one really understood it.
Dec 20, 2007 David rated it it was amazing
Still haven’t really figured out who the murderer is, but I think it is the priest...
Leo Robertson
Jan 11, 2015 Leo Robertson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Sometimes I claim to know a guy but I can't tell you what his hands look like" - Yoni Wolf.

But hey, it's always better to regret what you've said than never say it, right?
Haha, cheers R______ - great! I too will respond alike with random shit!
His feeling was that something animalistic had taken place, perpetrated by a beast- So, kudos!

Hot and shining metallic cy
lindrical arms connected to the wells to the juice.

Fist time I've been to one- so weird:
there's nothing but sea all around, interrupted
Feb 09, 2011 Cecilia rated it really liked it
Harmony Korine has recently fascinated me as an individual. I've seen 3 of his films, and after watching his last interview with David Letterman while he was high out of his mind on Youtube, I couldn't help but be curious as to what goes on in that fucked-up brain of his. I was absolutely elated the moment I was able to find this book, because its currently out of print. I enjoy it because of how pieced together it is. It reflects Korine's indifference with being conventional just by how it's pu ...more
Tristan Goding
Dec 07, 2015 Tristan Goding rated it liked it
I knew this girl who found an intimate diary from 1916 of a young World War I soldier. I excitedly borrowed it from her. Forgotten memories, you know? The book was small yet full of passionate writing. He spoke of a love called JB. I don't know who JB was. All I could gather was that their love was forbidden and secret. I share this because it's the only part that stuck out. The entirety of this diary was mundane, yet I cannot help but appreciate how it made me feel.
FLASHBACK to 2003:
I'm an
Jon Cone
Aug 17, 2010 Jon Cone rated it liked it
I thought the book was a novel, at first, then realized quickly it wasn't, that it was more compendium hastily and sloppily arrived at than a careful selection arranged by an unstated artistic purpose. The book felt very zine-like, a gathering meant to shock and spur, a punk-like contempt within its many furies. When I learned that Korine had indeed written and published a series of zines this book made more sense to me, as an expressive experiment. Those of you who know Korine for his brilliant ...more
Sep 29, 2016 RB rated it liked it
One has to wonder if, after reading the collected interviews with Mr. Korine, that this book isn't really so much a book as it is part of a larger, or in his words, "universal" shtick, with this book representing a fuck you to expectations, the publishing world, or just a fun prank with a lot of bizarre content with jokes, lies, random pictures, gossip, letters by Tupac, lists, and other basically unconnected bits. So how much you, the reader, will enjoy this . . . collection of one man's inner ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Adam rated it liked it
Shelves: 1970-present, prose
“I bet you have no more friends than an alarm clock.”
“I gave up bowling for sex-- the balls are lighter and I don’t have to wear shoes.”
“Incest is relative.”
“My brother had a heart attack snorting cocaine off the cover of a Pete Seeger album.”
“Robert Frost Bite.”
“I knew this one pitcher who got arrested for chewing tobacco. One day he spit and drowned a midget.”
“A mistress is something between a master and a mattress.”

It's Korine. Not much more I can say right now.
Jul 12, 2008 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a relentlessly bizarre book. For those who don't know, Korine is probably best known as the co-writer of the movie "Kids" (one of my favorite movies from the 90's). It essentially reads like a sketchpad of Korine's random musings and fictionized quips of the sicker side of American life. I'm ready to see what he comes up with next.
Jeff Downer
Aug 19, 2008 Jeff Downer rated it really liked it
There are things on earth worth time just to observe. This book does that.
Apr 01, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
Harmony Korine has once again become the man of the hour following the release of "Spring Breakers" in which he directs James Franco and a cadre of Disney princesses against a Skrillex score into a neon underground of debauchery. There is much to say about this film, "Spring Breakers" - primarily it begs the question of which cast members were "in" on the satire of contemporary American youth consumption culture. (However, to seek the answer to this question presupposes that the inquirer accepts ...more
I am truly surprised that I am giving this book such a high rating. When I first began Harmony Korine's "novel" it seemed to be a mish-mash of lists, jokes, stories, and photos (the first page of the book is a picture of MC Hammer age 11) in his typical over the top manner...a man who is a master of exposing a certain type of trailer trash.

I went in with VERY LOW expectations, after all, I made it through 35 minutes of the unspeakably terrible movie "Trash Humpers". Then, the further I got into
Jan 14, 2015 Courtney rated it really liked it
Back in 2009 when I was going through my "Oh my fucking god, Harmony Korine's movies changed my life" phase, I scavenged the internet for this (previously out of print) book endlessly. I finally came across a few used copies overseas in London, which was torture to wait for on top of the books heavily inflated price + shitty international shipping fees, it began to feel more like a chore than anything.
But when I finally received it it felt like raw gold in my hands. TOTALLY WORTH IT. Filled wit
Apr 29, 2016 D rated it it was amazing
Harmony Korine brews a devilish concoction of literary forms into something vaguely resembling a book in A Crackup at the Race Riots. Suicide notes, handwritten pages, speeches, short episodic scenes and lists tell the hundreds of stories playing out synchronously in the underbelly of Korine’s America. The knee-jerk reaction to this book is that it’s a successful application to literature of the narrative techniques Korine has developed through his films but I would go further and say that it’s ...more
Printable Tire
I read this in April and I can't remember much of my opinion of it now, which means it's not going to stick with me. But I do remember everywhere I went people would say "you're reading a book by Harmony Korine?" it sort of a "uh oh, watch out!" kind of way, and there's a blurb by Wernor Herzog on the back. It's not a great or cohesive book, but there's parts I remember which were good and I liked the format, even if it did just seem mostly random/slapped together livejournal most of the time. N ...more
Apr 29, 2013 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short snapshots offering a peek into Harmony Korine's carnivalesque view on the world swing from the deliberately provocative and mildly tedious to the hilariously bizarre and beautifully insightful.

Less likely to be enjoyed by those who don't already have a penchant for Korine's inimitable brand of weird, these fast and furious word explosions will often infuriate those looking for something to rank alongside the obviously comparable Atrocity Exhibitions by JG Ballard.

Sep 18, 2015 ROC rated it did not like it
The thing about Harmony Korine is that he is not a good storyteller. He doesn't try to be. He's not crafting intricate tales full of characterization, tragedy, and wit. He tries to make art, and at times he succeeds, but the entirety of his niche is the presentation of situational dysfunction relying on the sensibilities of the reader.

He tries to disgust the reader with images of physical/social transgression but in doing so completely removes the heart of the topic, and we move no closer to the
Apr 28, 2009 Vern rated it did not like it
Random thoughts about things that might mean something to somebody, but so random that it's tough to even follow.
I have random thoughts.
I'm not going to bother, I've got other books to read that I know, for a fact by looking at the cover, will be better than this.
I will keep it here, on the edge of my bed, but come on...
It's not bad, I just feel like I have better things to read.

I think whoever it was that gave me this book was playing a mean trick on me. This book is awful.
Aug 05, 2013 Bad-at-reading rated it did not like it
Shelves: very-bad, pomo-etc
If Korine's transgressive in-vox-personae hatefulness was clever enough or believable enough to be truly upsetting, if it took the form of something more organized or familiar than scribbles and microfiction like a very long zine, or if the conclusion was anything more than a gussied-up "just kidding" cribbed from Flannery O'Connor, this might be worth something. As it stands it is simply juvenile, crass, and worst of all, BORING.
Jul 06, 2012 AGamble rated it liked it
This book is difficult to find and expensive to acquire because it has been out of print for over a decade. For those who are having trouble locating the book, try your library's inter-library loan program. Cost: $0.

Thoughts upon completion:
Why has this been out of print for so long?
The suicide notes were my favorite part.
To do: rewatch Gummo. Watch Kids.
Did David Foster Wallace read this?
Aug 15, 2010 Natalie rated it it was ok
Shelves: pictures, weird
I liked what Harmony was going for, & I appreciate his eagerness to go on Letterman & talk about his book, but ultimately this is why I think a lot of his stuff just doesn't work -- it's a lot of playing around with people's prejudices about "weird for the sake of being weird" with no real attitude/integrity behind it. Still, I did enjoy that one vignette about the pig with the velcro hooves that climbed up people's walls.
James Payne
Sep 19, 2013 James Payne rated it did not like it
Boring. Described as a novel on the jacket; it's not. Compendium of repetitive scenes and lists. It would have been more effective as a piece of literature as such if only the short stories had been presented. But then would it have been ~COOL~ ? Also, I don't dislike Harmony Korine or his aesthetic, and yet, this.
May 08, 2016 Udai rated it liked it
well that brings weird to a whole new level
I really like Korine and think that he's one of the best directors ever
this book that he wrote isn't really anovel just like his movie gummo isn't really a movie
it's pieces of cracked up stories that will consume you
one of the gloomiest people ever you can't but love him
Aug 01, 2010 Nick is currently reading it
I was looking forward to some visceral material. There is some here, but a lot of it reads like unedited material cut from the first draft of Gummo's screenplay. I'm also not sure having Werner Herzog's approval as a writer is an actually positive sign.
Michael X
May 09, 2008 Michael X rated it liked it
Korine's first foray into the "literary world". This book can be summed up as a pile of trash that Harmony Korine masturbated over. This book is out-of-print and now goes for $45 - $110. Glad I own it.
Jeremy Maddux
Apr 04, 2016 Jeremy Maddux rated it did not like it
This guy has no talent. He got extremely lucky with Gummo, so much that he probably realized he'd better make a conventional film in Spring Breakers while his name was still slightly relevant. He's worse as a writer than a filmmaker.
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Best known both as the writer of films "Kids" (1995) and "Ken Park" (2002) and as the director of films "Gummo" (1997), "julien donkey-boy" (1999), and "Mister Lonely" (2007), Harmony Korine has been deemed as the "enfant terrible" of modern independent dramatic film. Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of PBS cinematographer Sol Korine spent many of his days at revival theaters, drawing vast ...more
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“I was walking home from the theatre with Goethe this evening when we saw a small boy in a plum colored waistcoat. Youth, Goethe said, is the silky apple butter on the good brown bread of possibility” 1 likes
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