“Harry Crews is magnificently twisted and brutally funny.” - Carl Hiaasen

A Penguin Classic

Golden-haired, with the voice of an angel and a reputation as a healer, the Gospel Singer appeared on the cover of LIFE and brought thousands to their knees in Carnegie Hall. But for all his fame, he is a man in mortal torment that drives him back to his obscure and wretched hometown of Enigma, Georgia. But by the time his Cadillac pulls into Enigma, he discovers an old friend is being held at tenuous bay from a lynch mob. As Harry Crews’s first novel unfolds, the Gospel Singer is forced to give way to his torment, and in doing so he reveals to the believers who have gathered at his feet just how little he is God’s man, and how much he has contributed to the corruption of each of them.
“Flannery O’Connor on steroids.”
—John Williams, GQ
“I don’t know where [Harry Crews’s] narrative magic comes from, but it is firmly there.”
—Joseph Heller

“…a bona fide Southern writer in the vein of Flannery O’Connor, whose unvarnished language and absurdist take on life among the lower rungs of the region’s social ladder [is] shot through with a rough-and-tumble kind of empathy….it was with great pleasure that I spent last weekend reading The Gospel Singer,… a darkly funny tragedy…. The world he writes about is violent and ruthless….But there’s a point to Crews’ madness, and always present is a throughline of empathy…”
Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Critics and awards anoint some authors as legends. Others depend on word-of-mouth and prose that stands the test of time….There is nothing folksy, never mind pastoral or genteel, about Crews. With caustic and fabulist writing, he exhumed the ghosts of America’s original sin…..Crews captured the raw essence of humanity in both fiction and nonfiction. Side by side, these reissues form the complete picture of an imperfect man who charged hard into extremes to escape his cultural inheritance.”
—Lauren Leblanc, Los Angeles Times

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