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The Gypsy's Curse

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  338 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Paperback, 0 pages
Published September 1st 1976 by Pocket Books (first published 1974)
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Rating details
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Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm one of those strange fiction fans that feels some level of satisfaction reading a middling offering from an author I really like. Schadenfreude? Not particularly - I just appreciate the struggles of penning anything worth reading, and if a particular work doesn't hit the heights of other novels by the same author it creates a rounding out of their talent. I'm not sure I'm coming through here on this point, but it is like all of those Vonnegut short stories published posthumously in While Mor ...more
Writing negative reviews is no fun, especially when you like the author. It could be, were one inclined to be pernicious and expend the energy in lambasting something that lambasts itself. As this last attribute of a shit book is self-fulfilling, I see it as a waste of energy in two ways: 1) good ink spilled over bad; and 2) even further energy expended when enough has already been spent reading the thing. So I will say this: The Gypsy’s Curse is a lamentable exercise in ‘one-step forward, two-s ...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to pin down just who Harry Crews reminds me of; quite possibly nobody. There seem to be faint echoes of Hemingway, Bukowski, Burroughs, even Algren - but I think it's fair to say I've never read anything quite like The Gypsy's Curse.

It's freakish, bleak, purposefully un-PC (written well before there ever was PC, to be fair, but still - this is around the bend). The cast of characters is unforgettable, yet as soon as you meet a new one you kind of wish you hadn't.

That's as much as I'm g
Sep 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will forever have a special place in my heart as it was the book I was reading when Harry Crews died. I still can't believe it. One minute I'm laughing, forcing my wife to listen to brilliant passages from the book, then the next minute my Google notifications was telling me that Harry had died. Surreal! I think the news made the second half of the book a lot more deeper for me than it may have otherwise been. I had even been envisioning Al, the 70-something year-old owner of the gym, ...more
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another classic crews ending.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¿Alguna vez tuviste esa pesadilla en la que te pones a gritar y no eres capaz de emitir ni el más mínimo sonido? Imagina que no es una pesadilla y que además eres sordo y deforme, vaya putada eh? Bueno, Marvin Molar, nuestro héroe, sabe que hay cosas peores, la peor de todas ellas: ¡la maldición gitana!
Te partes con esta novela. Divertida e inteligente, Crews dibuja unos personajes muy potentes con muy pocas palabras, no se anda por las ramas.
Si disfrutaste con cosas como "La conjura de los neci
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: southern-grit
(written 12-03)

"Que encuentras un con~o a tu medida."

The curse which caused Marvin to do so many things for Hester, especially the one big thing. Talk about being caught in your life - Marvin has no use of his legs, and is deaf and dumb. Crews points out the irony in people saying what an amazing thing it is that Marvin overcame his adversity to really accomplish something. No legs... deaf and dumb... prisoner of a fantastic lap... Marvin overcame nothing. He is caught in a life with limited opt
Carla Remy
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 20th-century-lit
Early on I thought I probably wouldn't really like The Gypsy's Curse because the subject matter was unpleasant: it's about boxers and strongmen and has a protagonist who is deaf and dumb and has no legs to speak of so he walks everywhere on his hands. But I kept reading and it quickly gripped me and I loved it. Strange and dark, it reminded me of Jim Thompson in tone through the whole book and then certainly the end. But a little more 70s than Thompson (this is from 1974).
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Dark, twisted, funny, imperfect ending.... everything I like in a story! This book is a perfect example of the southern-gothic sub genre, southern-grotesque. Not only is no one perfect in the world of this book, no one has a flaw too small to be examined and exploited by the other characters. Most of them, however, for all their imperfections, show a surprising amount of heart when you look beyond the surface, and that's what this book is about - going beyond appearances.
Frank Roberts
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I discovered Harry Crews in my teens. He writes Southern grotesque like Faulkner on acid. He really knows how to create characters and how to turn a phrase. I also recommend Karate is a Thing of the Spirit, The Gospel Singer, and Feast of Snakes.
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
fantastically twisted southern humor with some truly unforgettable moments.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Harry was my mentor when I was a young woman. I took classes from him for a number of years, and became a part of his entourage. I loved his intensity. This, for my money, is his best work.
Eric Stone
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest of the Crews novels. Some utterly brilliant passages. A fantastic read.
Stan Lanier
Oct 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Who cares if something's the best if you can't stand it?" (p.31)
Graham P
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading a Harry Crews book is like drinking rot-gut whiskey with an old friend who just got out of jail, but will no doubt be back in the slammer come sun-up. Only Crews could write a novel about freaks, gym rats and scumbags with such honesty and heart, make you laugh hard and then simmer in a sharp melancholia. You get a true sense that he cares for his characters and never does he piss on them just for the sake of it. Of course, cruel and savage things unfold. As with 'Feast of Snakes', this ...more
Jesús  Játiva
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Con esta, Crews se coloca como uno de mis escritores favoritos. Tiene la dureza y la originalidad que puedes encontrar en las novelas de Edward Bunker, y sus personajes son tan únicos y están tan bien trazados que es imposible no amarlos al mismo tiempo que te dan asco. Me encanta.
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crews i know my "reviews" are disappearing...i do know that i wrote about this one...i know because i took a course or two under the man...and i stood in his office at one time and he told me of a doctorate student whose thesis was that the student made a point of discussing the midget's 22" arms.

...length, the student spoke about...not girth. the man had biceps that measured 22" in circumference and this student had sent the thesis, the paper to crews and the student had it wro
You gotta wonder where he comes up with this stuff. A great book- weird, but it makes sense. The narrator is a professional "balancer", as in he makes his living balancing on two fingers, all sorts of stuff. He is also deaf, can't talk, and has no legs. He walks around and does all these amazing things on his hands. Lives in a gym with a bunch of other misfits. He's in love with a woman that is his "Gypsy's Curse". Most men have had one of these, I guess. Though when it happens you think you mus ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Delightfully offbeat and the language is fresh. Great metaphors and similes. Lines like "A little zing of feeling went through me like somebody had me from asshole to mouth on an electric wire and had just plugged me in."
Richard Burke
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Another bizarre and great Crew's book. One of his earlier books and includes Russel the Muscle from Body.
Leonard Jacobs
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird and compelling novel -- quick to read -- impossible to forget.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The second Crews books I've read (after Feast of Snakes) and wow, it's even wilder. Dealing with supposedly grotesque subject matter, it manages to be both outrageous and deeply humanistic.
Stephen Hawks
May 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This too me is one of the most disturbing novels I know of. It is like watching the movie Freaks.
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
One word - Bizarre

Quote, pg. 179 "He was in a tight, fake leopardskin bathing suit that had a strap over the left shoulder. You couldn't have bought such a thing."
Rick Sanders
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great story. Full of chuckles, laughs and cringes. The cringes were filtered; I didn't feel the pain I might have expected.
Certain mental disorders are nicely depicted.
Deborah Valentine
rated it it was amazing
Dec 29, 2007
Matthew Holt
rated it really liked it
Aug 13, 2015
rated it really liked it
Apr 23, 2010
Lidia Fante
rated it liked it
Jun 10, 2017
rated it really liked it
Apr 14, 2008
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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
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