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A Childhood: The Biography of a Place (Anglais) Relié – 31 octobre 1995

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A Childhood "A Childhood" is the unforgettable memoir of Harry Crews' earliest years, a sharply remembered portrait of the people, locales, and circumstances that shaped him--and destined him to be a storyteller. Crews was born in the middle of the Great Depression, in a one-room sharecropper's cabin at the end of a dirt road in rural South Georgia. If Bacon County was a place of grinding poverty, poor soil, ... Full description

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Format: Relié
Harry Crews est un auteur de romans noirs, pas assez reconnu au goût de ceux qui aiment ses livres qui fleurent bon le Sud rural le plus poisseux, avec leur cortège de personnages et de situations déjantés, comme son formidable premier opus, The Gospel Singer (1968), ou A Feast of Snakes (1976). Pour aller vite, on pourrait dire de Crews qu'il est l'enfant naturel d'Erskine Caldwell et de Jim Thompson, ce qui n'est pas une mince ascendance à lui prêter, j'en conviens, mais dont il a su dans ses meilleurs ouvrages être digne (voir également la biographie de l'auteur fournie ci-dessus).

En 1978, c'est justement en quête de mémoire et de ses ascendants biologiques qu'il se met, en rédigeant des mémoires intitulés en anglais A Childhood: The Biography of a Place. Le titre français, Des mules et des hommes : Une enfance, un lieu, est particulièrement bien trouvé, même s'il ne restitue pas le fait que s'il va bien s'agir de l'enfance de l'auteur, c'est aussi la biographie d'un lieu qui est proposée.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards) 4.5 étoiles sur 5 26 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A lost world 24 mai 2016
Par Richard Gilbert - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Harry Crews grew up in south Georgia in an impoverished sharecropper family. Their poverty and ignorance were almost unbelievable. But their world also contained love and magic, along with alcoholism and domestic violence. Crews was attuned to the nature that surrounded him and took for granted his parents' fights over his father's drinking, his close relationship with a black tenant family on the farm, and everyone around him being poor, illiterate, and marked or maimed by physical labor, accidents, and animals.

The father in the book is actually Crews's stepfather. After Crews's father died, when he was about two, his older brother divorced his wife and married Crews's mother. He was a loving father to Crews and his brother, but he grew increasingly drunk and absent. Life on the farm was incredibly hard, but as I said, magical for young Harry. Then he was briefly and painfully crippled by polio at about age five and, just as he recovered, horribly burned when he fell into scalding water at a hog butchering.

During both protracted recoveries he was cared for at night by his best friend's grandmother, an elderly black woman who told him outlandish tales that reflected her magical understanding of the world. Even amidst a rich storytelling culture, in which stories immortalized, explained, and helped people endure an unforgiving and often desperate life, Auntie stood out. Her tales, which emphasized unknowable power and mystery and the importance of protective rituals, didn't provide comprehension of phenomena but a way to live with them. Crews learned well—what a fine storyteller is riveting our attention on his life from ages five to about 10, with a flash forward at the end.

The tone that Crews creates and his sentence rhythms made this an intoxicating read for me, and the story is compelling—you really want to find out what happens. He conveys his experiences through his childhood point of view, and often in vivid scenes, but using the strong storyteller's voice of an older, wiser, sadder man looking back. Though Crews only occasionally seems to speak to readers in his adult writer's voice, his layering of both childhood and adult perspectives imbues the memoir with depth. We grasp more than he did then, even as we enjoy his childhood innocence and originality.

Despite the brutality and harshness of his world, I could not help but envy aspects of its cohesion, which sets up a reader to be unexpectedly moved by Crews's ultimate plight.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Deep South, Deep Depression, childhood memoir... 5 décembre 2011
Par John P. Jones III - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I received an excellent recommendation on this book, from Annie Dillard. I had written her to express my admiration for her moving memoir An American Childhood, concerning her upbringing in Pittsburgh during the Eisenhower `50's. She responded, with thanks, and made a singular recommendation: another memoir of childhood, this one, by Harry Crews. In terms of childhood experiences, they are poles apart. Crews' was raised, dirt poor as the expression has it, in Bacon County, deep rural southeast Georgia, during the Depression. Dillard's was a middle class upbringing, during the post-World War II prosperity years.

Crews is still with us, so the events that he so evocatively describes, have occurred in the span of one lifetime. He grew up in a one room sharecropper's cabin. In the era where agriculture is dominated by multinationals, it is useful to recall that "sharecropping," that is, farming someone else's land for a percentage of the take, was one of the most fundamental principles that permitted grave inequalities in income. Crews prose is earthy and unpretentious, and he has a keen ear for the patois of rural Georgia. Despite, or is rather because of the poverty, there was a strong sense of family and the community which he aptly depicts.

The scene that I most vividly recall is when the children were playing "crack the whip." In this era of endless electronic distractions for kids, does the game still exist? Each child hold hands, the leader makes a sudden turn, and the centripetal force throws the last child off. In Crews' case, it was a bright, cold February, 1941, when there was much joy since they were slaughtering hogs, and knew lots of meat would be available. In the process, a large trough of scalding water is set up, to facilitate the removal of the hair and bristles. "Crack the whip" threw Crews into the trough, one of those childhood accidents that are too often fatal. The author obviously survived. He describes how burns were treated, ultimately at home, long before the worries of will the health insurance pay.

"Did you git your commodity?" Crews explains that he has subsequently learned several other definitions for the word "commodity": "...but in my secret heart I'll always know what commodity means: `free food that comes on a truck.'" Crews was in the Marines during the Korean War, and returned to Bacon County in 1956. He looked up, and cursed the sun. He writes: "And in Bacon County you don't curse the sun or the rain or the land or God. They are all the same thing. To curse any of them is an ultimate blasphemy."

The University of Georgia Press did an outstanding job in publishing this work, utilizing the service of Michael McCurdy, a renowned illustrator and designer who provided drawings not only for the cover, but another around 20 throughout the text. Aspiring writers should take heart: he applied, and was denied a place as a student in the University of Florida's Creative Writing program. After the publication of some of his work, he was invited back as a professor for the program. 5-stars for this work.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Classic Memoir 10 septembre 2010
Par J Royal Horton - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Gib: A Contemporary Western The Blind Corral (Contemporary American fiction)I bought this book at the recommendation of a writer friend of mine, Ralph Beer, who wrote the western classic The Blind Corral. Crewes' book, about growing up in the rural South, takes a stance astride provocative pride and self-consciousness about his poor childhood. A brilliant writer, the man's writing style is suffused with an irony based on redneck swagger and the memories of a sensitive child born into a very tough world.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best place to learn about Crews 27 septembre 2011
Par Professor - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
As mentioned by another reviewer, if you're not familiar with Harry Crews, this is a good place to start. Then read his novel _Scar Lover_, and you'll see the connections.

This is simply the most evocative and beautiful memoir I have ever read. The man is amazing.

I know that his novels tend to shock some people. But reading this book helps us understand where he's coming from--both literally and figuratively.

I spent a day at Harry's house this summer (July 2011), and he was gracious and hospitable--and tons of fun. He cussed up a storm, but he just exuded wisdom. He's 76. He can't use his legs, and he has all kinds of health problems. But he still has that gleam in his eye, and he's working on his 18th book. He gets up at 4 a.m. every morning and writes 500 words. Long may he live.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 ... live in rural Georgia and he is telling it like it was 21 mars 2017
Par deborah s. spearman - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
We live in rural Georgia and he is telling it like it was. Including the opossum eyes story. People down here still believe in the "root" Doctor.
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