Books »The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby

Black SunFrom the horrifying life changing experiences in World War I, to the illicit affair with a married woman in Boston, to the orgies, drugs, and poetry as an expatriate in Paris, to his devotion to sun worship, to the final murder/suicide that ended his life, the chapters of Harry Crosby's life are compelling and scandalous. In the hands of any writer such explosive material would be interesting, but thanks to Wolff, this book reads like exciting fiction.

Most of this biography is a page turner and the events are told with vivid detail, reading a lot like a memoir. Wolff's voice is wonderfully cynical and sarcastic when it comes to certain aspects of Crosby's exotic, fringe lifestyle and you feel like Wolff was not only present at all the events he describes, but that the knows Crosby well enough to be able to poke fun at him like an old friend.

At the risk of sounding like a moron, my only complaint is that it's a bit too long. There are segments that seem really repetitive and I, personally, was a bit less interested in the poetry analysis than in the social scandals. But it's all well written, so anyone with an interest in poetry will no doubt find it doubly intriguing.

One of the most readable works of non fiction I've read in a while, and a must for those interested in the Lost Generation.

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Posted on April 23, 2007

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