One thought on “Karate Is a Thing of the Spirit”

  1. Laurie Partridge fucking David Cassidy with a Pet Rock on shag carpeting while Iron Eyes Cody cries a single tear over the oil shortage onto a Saturday Night Fever 8-track: that scenario still isn’t as Seventies as Karate Is a Thing of the Spirit. I was all set to write a serious review of the book’s examination of the post 60s fall-out and search for identity after the Revolution turned out to be bullshit, but why? So I’ll say this: if you want to enjoy yourself and the prospect of roving [...]

  2. 'Karate' isn't his very best but it's a little gem for fans even so. The classic Crews themes are here; lost souls randomly crashing together in the dark of American life, broken or breaking people trying to form a family or unified force but forming a cult instead, physical and psychological brutality-all woven together into a portrait of America (usually Northern Florida) at once totally familiar to us but grotesque and unsettling when viewed through Crews' patina of blood lust, carnivorous se [...]

  3. That feeling you get when something you're really enjoying gathers speed and drives right off of a looming cliffI really like stories about martial arts, and those crazy, stupid montage scenes in sports movies where people go from average, to beast mode; it's charming to think that average people have this hidden capacity for brilliant athleticism and brutally graceful achievements. It's just a cool thing. I find it fascinating that the human body is so durable and powerful, and it's romantic in [...]

  4. Just try saying "karate is a thing of the spirit" aloud. It makes you feel better about any possible situation.Edited to add: I'm not sure one can say that about the book itself. The core of Karate is empty, becoming a blank slate, wiped clean with devotion, flattened like the knuckles of the fist of protagonist John Kaimon. He is referred to by his full name throughout like he's a little child in trouble, which he sort of is.Everyone else in the dojo is electric and alluring on the outside, fil [...]

  5. I really wanted to like Harry Crews (and this book in particular), but, at the risk of sounding trite, I just couldn't emotionally connect to any of the characters. The plot centers around a young man (just out of college) who stumbles upon a karate troupe on a beach in Florida. The "karatekas" are extreme: they pummel each other until they're nearly dead. The protagonist decides on impulse that he MUST join them, and is welcomed by their formidable leader, Belt. They all live in a cheap motel o [...]

  6. (written 4-05)John Kaimon, who gets into people's games, finds one he truly believes in or does he? At the end, Gaye Nell O'Dell seemed to have been tamed, which saddened me - she's just gonna follow him, pregnant with his baby, having it because he told her to. Oh well.

  7. read this one years agoearly 80s, had a paperback, long goneld! to the book gallery there in that mallwould have to look at a map. crews rocks the casbah! gone now. knew the manspent time in the same room way back when. onward and upward.

  8. I read this one a while ago but I didn't want to list it cuz it wasn't so good. Kind of cheesy in a funny 70s way. A better book from this timeframe for Crews was "Car" or "The Hawk is Dying" (though that one was made into a bad movie a couple years ago).

  9. i have now read this twice. Not Harry's best book. Not nearly as funny as most. The ending did remind me of "The Graduate" .

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