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Geronimo Rex

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  592 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Geronimo Rex, Barry Hannah's brilliant first novel, which was nominated for the National Book Award, is full of the rare verve and flawless turns of phrase that have defined his status as an American master. Roiling with love and torment, lunacy and desire, hilarity and tenderness, Geronimo Rex is the bildungsroman of an unlikely hero. Reared in gloomy Dream of Pines, Loui ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 15th 1998 by Grove Press (first published 1972)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 02, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it
Shelves: southern
***This is a mature review not for the kiddos.***

“I knew she was too much woman for me, for one thing, and for another, no man could look on her without becoming a slobbering kind of rutting boar; she did not enchant you: she put you in heat.”

Now, really, truth be known any woman is too much woman for Harry Monroe. He grew up in Dream of Pines, Louisiana and decided to go to school at Hedermansever College in Mississippi mainly because the acceptance letters from Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Princet
Jun 20, 2007 Mike added it
not recommended for teenage males who already have a natural inclination to hate women. validates misogyny through hilarity. a good bildungsroman, actually--there aren't many, are there? maybe too much penis (in the abstract sense) for my taste.
Sep 27, 2011 Erica rated it really liked it
Solid semi-autobiographical coming of age novel set in the mid-century south. The narrator is a dude's dude; he spends his time shooting at things that are beautiful and having sexual encounters with poorly developed girl characters. The other main points are John Phillips Sousa's marches, and his interactions with a white supremacist writer of smut letters to a long dead Northern Quaker.

All in all it's well written, totally ridiculous and a lot of fun.
Sep 10, 2016 Bert rated it liked it
A raucous stinkin mess of a novel. The writing knows it's good, and it will bully you into falling for it, but it's as if Barry Hannah didn't want to stop writing and everything just keeps piling up. Ol' Bert just got tired, there's a lot of pages. Geronimo Rex is a great novel of marching bands, adolescence and The American South, it's spiky and funny, it's got that heightened surreal/disturbing Robert Crumb-type feel, and there's no getting around the misogyny, and the hipster-racism, but it's ...more
Jun 19, 2011 keatssycamore rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Young hipsters of a decidedly Southern literary bent
Not really my bag. i know it is an early book of promise by a young guy figuring it out, but certain of the author's pre-occupations just ground me down. Some of it is probably that this is a "coming of age" story and, as a man who is forty, I came already.
Jan 05, 2014 Julie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If misogyny is not your thing, don't read this book. I know there are terrible things that go on this world, but frankly, I don't want to spend my time reading about them and then reading about others' praise of an author writing about them.

I've slogged through half the book for a book club that meets in two weeks. I'm going to have a hard time finishing it unless (here's a shred of hope) the second half is better, as a couple of other reviewers have said. I have my doubts, but we'll see...
Jeff Randall
Sep 11, 2012 Jeff Randall rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of Barry Hannah's work. This book is a gem, that few I know have read. If you write or just enjoy great writing it is worth picking up Hannah's short stories or this novel (autobiography?). There are moments of pure brilliance and story that keeps giving start to finish. Sad like Dubus there is no more forthcoming from this man.
Sean Lovelace
Jun 02, 2011 Sean Lovelace rated it really liked it
Really does meander, but the language keeps everything tight. A romp.
Ron Smith
Apr 01, 2013 Ron Smith rated it really liked it
I finished this book a week ago, and it's still difficult to get my mind around. I may come back later to change my rating. The nicest thing I can say about Harry Monroe, the protagonist in Barry Hannah's first novel, is that he is a product of his times. The story takes place in the fifties and sixties -- in Louisiana and Mississippi -- a time and place when it must have been more acceptable to be a misogynist. Harry calls girls "roaches," and I don't think he respected any female in his life. ...more
Jun 30, 2014 Eraserhead rated it it was ok
God bless Hannah. This has been halfway finished for three years now. The writing is fine, great in places, and the opening brilliant---the main problem is that the book is pushing 400 pages when it should be around 200. There is considerable bloat here, and a lot of scenes that, more or less, tell the same thing. My attention wanes, even with Mr. Hannah's verbal firecracks going off every page or so.

When correcting an early draft of A SUN ALSO RISES, Fitzgerald said that Hemingway should cut en
Jul 09, 2010 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
It took me weeks to read this, I plodded through the first half and then demolished the second half. I'm not from the south, but I have a feeling I should assume that his stories would seem as outlandish as they do accurate. Hannah tells a thousand stories, plenty of them begin an end in one paragraph, and the protagonist goes through the book like some sort of Don Quixote of the '60s and '70s south. By the time you finish reading this book, you'll think you have an appreciate for marching band ...more
George Thomas
Jul 28, 2010 George Thomas rated it did not like it
I really liked his Yonder Stands Your Orphan, though it might be the oddest book I have ever read. Geronimo Rex is odd but not compelling like Yonder. I really didn't care about the main character and for a coming of age book, that is deadly. The characters continually commit violent or disgusting acts for reasons that escaped me. If the point is that humans are violent, disgusting, and act randomly, well, one can make that point in fewer than 381 pages. Leave this one alone. Read Yonder Stands ...more
Charles White
Mar 31, 2010 Charles White rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with a sense of humor
Shelves: 2010
Great book with one of the most dynamic narrators I can remember. Stunning Deep South picaresque.
Chase Dearinger
Feb 19, 2014 Chase Dearinger rated it liked it
Good book. Would have rated it another star or so but sometimes the misogyny was a bit much.
Apr 18, 2012 wally rated it really liked it
Shelves: hannah
This is the 2nd from Hannah, the 1st and only other story I've read: The Tennis Handsome. I liked the description of this one, enjoyed the other story I read, have read good things about him, etc etc

This one starts out:

Blue Spades
In 1950 I'm eight years old and gravely beholding, from my vantage slot under the bleachers, the Dream of Pines Colored High School band. This group blew and marched so well they were scary.

The white band in town was nothing, compared--drab lines of orange wheeled about
Jan 08, 2017 Christian rated it it was amazing
It's been a little over a month since I finished this book, but I liked it quite a bit. I'm a big fan of Hannah's writing style; very few authors can so accurately and distinctively portray the South while writing in a style that almost sounds like it's from the viewpoint of an outsider looking in. Hannah also has a way of describing mundane or everyday events, actions, and/or moments using words or phrases that come out of leftfield, that would never occur to most writers, but still create a cl ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Dan rated it liked it
Shelves: a-bit-of-a-slog

Spoiler alert...sort of

Meh, eh. Not a great book IMHO. It was like a more readable "adventures of Augie March". That book, while considered a classic American Bildungsroman was booooooring, couldn't finish it. This one kept me interested....for some reason.

Some of the situations in this book were so strange and difficult to believe that they must have been based on reality. Shooting at the piano player, the entire Whitfield Peter Catherine thing... I don't know maybe I'm missing the point of th
Sep 08, 2012 Bryan rated it liked it
There are brilliant moments here. Truly great moments of absurdist comedy and dazzling language. However, the main drama of the second book I just could not get into, and nothing stuck. Each time I went back to reading it, I felt like I had skipped forward in the book accidentally, when I didn't (I don't think I did at least.) I feel bad giving it only three stars because the moments I liked, I absolutely loved, but that second book dragged on and on.
Mar 19, 2007 robert rated it liked it
A coming of age novel by Barry Hannah, Geronimo Rex is a pretty fun read - I admit to being a little biased since Hannah was raised outside of my hometown and the book discusses some settings of nostalgia for me. Nevertheless - the book has some hilarious scenes and a discussion of music intertwines the entire narrative....overall, a worthy read.

Also check Hannah's acclaimed short story collection, Airships.
Mar 27, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
though less polished, maybe, than Hannah's short story collections or Yonder Stands Your Orphan Geronimo Rex was one of the best spun yarns I've come across in awhile. soulful, poetic and hilarious - darkly and otherwise. LOVE THIS GUY. a weird bildungsroman. friendship, lust, ambition. marching bands. loony-bin poet of erotica. go forth!
Barry Jude
Nov 07, 2015 Barry Jude rated it liked it
Harry Monroe kinda bored me throughout this story, though his crew of discombobulated associates seemed to be somewhat awkward enough to carry the tune--especially band-leader Harry. Couldn't really get into the dramatic dilemma with perverted Peter, as it just seemed trifling, but guessing that the white supremacist subtext was more of a lynchpin in the time of its publication.
Bill Householder
May 03, 2016 Bill Householder rated it really liked it
Long, (over 300 pages), bildungsroman. Secondary character Fleece more interesting and likable than main protagonist, Harry. Other secondary characters interesting, but are kept far in the background. Harley Butte should have had equal time as Harry, but then it wouldn’t have been a coming-of-age novel. Very different in style than what Hannah would later produce.
Jay Wood
Jul 03, 2014 Jay Wood rated it liked it
Dizzying, off-kilter. This book spirals outwards and inwards. A bit of editing wouldn't have hurt, because it's certainly too long, but an interesting take on the sexual bildungsroman. The prose is electric, but can become overwhelming.
Aug 20, 2011 Josh rated it it was amazing
Very good book. Some of the odd things the Harry did in the story are probably just a reflection of that time in his life. Most of us can look back on thAt time in our lives and think of things and say, what in the world was I thinking?
Andi Agnew
Jul 23, 2010 Andi Agnew rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Maybe it was all the Jackson references, or maybe it was just Hannah's character development, but I either way it is a new favorite. Would read it again for sure, and will definitely read more Hannah in the future.
May 17, 2012 Elise rated it really liked it
My first book by Barry Hannah, but not my last. Wonderful funny writing. I am a huge fan of this book and will probably read it again sometime even though I am not a huge fan of reading things over too much.
Erik Wyse
Hannah's prose is vibrant and inventive, weaving together a unique bildungsroman, spanning mid-century in the American South. It is a pity that Hannah is not better recognized today for his talents and contributions.
Aug 17, 2011 Tony rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2011
Phil, you might like this book. I didn't love it, however. An interesting blend of John Kennedy Toole, Cormac McCarthy, Charles Portis, and JD Salinger. I like these writers individually to varying degrees, but blended, they make for a mildly amusing mish-mash of a semi-picaresque bildungsroman.
Jan 22, 2014 Jaycee rated it it was ok
long, wandering, absurdist narrative. For me, it lacked direction. If you like Faulkner and/or Confederacy of Dunces, you will like this. If not…
Jul 28, 2010 patty rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
Masterful storytelling, unforgettable characters. Too misogynistic for my tastes, otherwise I would have rated it 5 stars. Loved the Mose Allison references and the focus on southern brass bands.
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Barry Hannah was an American novelist and short story writer from Mississippi. He was the author of eight novels and five short story collections. He worked with notable American editors and publishers such as Gordon Lish, Seymour Lawrence, and Morgan Entrekin. His work was published in Esquire, The New Yorker, The Oxford American, The Southern Review, and a host of American magazines and quarterl ...more
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