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Geronimo Rex

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  476 ratings  ·  46 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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Cold Mountain by Charles FrazierWinter's Bone by Daniel WoodrellBastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy AllisonI Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down by William GayThe Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell
Grit Lit
44th out of 60 books — 15 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullersThe Color Purple by Alice WalkerGone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Oxford American: The Best Southern Novels of All Time
83rd out of 104 books — 39 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,096)
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Jeffrey Keeten
***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
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.
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.
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
Jeff Randall
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.
Jun 19, 2011 keatssycamore rated it 2 of 5 stars
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.
Sean Lovelace
Really does meander, but the language keeps everything tight. A romp.
Ron Smith
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
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
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
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
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...
Chase Dearinger
Good book. Would have rated it another star or so but sometimes the misogyny was a bit much.
Charles White
Mar 31, 2010 Charles White rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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

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
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.
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.
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.
Jay Wood
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.
Andi Agnew
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.
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?
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.
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.
Nov 15, 2010 Stephanie marked it as partially-read
Shelves: book-club-reads
I gave it 50 pages, and was not grabbed by it. I found it hard to follow; it seemed rather stream of consciousness, like a more unstructured modern-day Holden Caulfield.
Chris Wiebe
No one writes about music like Hannah.

All these good books' user accusations of "misogyny" have missed the point. For Hannah, misogyny is self-hate.
long, wandering, absurdist narrative. For me, it lacked direction. If you like Faulkner and/or Confederacy of Dunces, you will like this. If not…
Tried to read this, but ended up just skimming. Another wretched tome where there isn't a single likable character. Can't see much point in that.
I'm reading everything the late Hannah wrote. Starts here. Starts strong.
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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
More about Barry Hannah...
Airships Ray Yonder Stands Your Orphan High Lonesome Bats Out of Hell

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