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A Crackup at the Race Riots
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A Crackup at the Race Riots

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  521 ratings  ·  48 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 of 1,106)
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Michael Seidlinger
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.
Winter Branch
Jun 13, 2007 Winter Branch rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Laryssa gervan
Aug 19, 2008 Laryssa gervan rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
I love Harmony Korine because he's so weird, like so weird it's not cool and so uncool it then comes around to be cool again. It's not even really worth rating him using a star system that is also being used to rate Alice Walker. Seriously strange.
Still haven’t really figured out who the murderer is, but I think it is the priest...
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
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
Jon Cone
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
“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.
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
Christina knox
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.
reading this fairly on in high school made a remarkable impact on my aesthetic sensibilities (that lingers to this day)
Jeff Downer
There are things on earth worth time just to observe. This book does that.
I feel like this book gets too much credit for what it actually is. I really like Korine, but it's impossible for me to pass most of this as anything other than teenage-esque "artistic" nonsense. You know, like when adolescents write something like Love. Life. Death. endlessly on their notebooks, that sort of thing.

I mean, look at these pages.

Okay buddy, you are very Tumblr and underground *taps him in the back*

His films have more credibility. than this. I don't see anything special or unique go
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
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
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 which seems to rely 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 c
Dann Dempsey
This book is incredible. I think about this book regularly since I first read it in the 90s. It's by far my favorite non-narrative novel.
Darian Lee
i'll give a five star to pretty much anything harmony does because i love him so much.
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.
A fragmented mess of beauty, humor and darkness.
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.
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.
A. Gamble
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?
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.
James Payne
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.
I reviewed this for Bookforum:

Salient thing I said: "Crack-Up feels uncomfortably of-the-moment. It's like a satirist's pre-cognition of internet trolling, inane rankings, pointless nostalgia, rampant rumor-mongering, and arbitrary celebrity worship."
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.
Its sad this book even exists. It looks like its written by some 15 year old girl that thinks she is too hip for everybody. Some of the details he added are unnecessary and look like they were just added because whoever wrote it is a... teenager.
Was recommended to me by a friend. What a lovely conglomeration of non-sequiturisms :) Most of it is laugh at loud, some of it walks that fine line between angry rioters and daisies and sunshine. The man was truly nutty.
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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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The Collected Fanzines Collected Screenplays 1: Jokes / Gummo / julien donkey-boy A Crack-Up at the Race Riots Mister Lonely Pass the Bitch Chicken

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