As many a Harmony Korine fan will tell you, the absurd realist filmmaker dabbles in just about every medium. Whether it’s putting out some of the most controversial films of the last twenty years, photographing abandoned parking lots or writing novels, Korine’s unique and bizarre voice spills into many territories, always filled with a radical view on life. And this April, his first novel A Crack-Up at the Race Riots—originally published in 1998—is being re-issued on paperback. "It’s about a race war and it happens in Florida. And the Jewish people sit in trees. And the black people are run by M.C. Hammer. And the whites are run by Vanilla Ice. I wanted to write the Great American Choose Your Own Adventure novel," said Korine on his premiere work.
In 1998 a scruffy, sweatshirt-clad Korine went on Late Night with David Letterman to promote the book, in one of his many odd and hilarious appearances on the show. When Letterman asked Korine how much the book sold for, Korine answered: "Uh…I don’t know…regular book price? I can’t imagine why anyone would buy a book nowadays." Letterman asked if Korine would go out and buy the book himself, to which he responded, "Um…I’d probably read an older book." Always his own best self-promoter.
A Crack-Up at the Race Riots presents a multimedia fragmented portrait through print, drawings, news clippings, handwriting, a poem, attempted diagrams, clip-art—but mostly text. It includes hard-luck stories, his signature off-brand jokes, and other bizarre ground exploring the world of show business "with fingers prying in the cracks and feet set lightly in the black humors of the real ol’ world."
In addition, the book also features some semi-attempted scripts, letters to Tupac (because why not?), and a set of eleven suicide notes with empty space for your signature. Speaking to Crack Up, Werner herzog said, "I was struck from the very beginning that there is a totally independent & new voice in writing. I believe that [he] is a great talent as a writer."
The lists in the book include:
Titles of Books I Will Write
Ten Ethnic Adolesecent Atrocities: Pictures
Books Found in Monty Clift’s Basement
The Most Famous Home Movie
Tupac Shakur’s Ten Favorite Novels
Three Or Four Claims to Fame
Ethnic Atrocities: Pictures Continue
Son’s Favorite Foods
Get the novel in paperback April 16th via Drag City and watch his wonderful Letterman interviews below.