A Feast of Snakes - Harry Crews Mystic, Georgia is home to the annual Rattlesnake Roundup. The local sheriff is a one-legged, hard drinking, ex-local football star who locks up any woman he fancies until they “put out.” Joe Lon, another character was a former football star resentful of his girlfriend Berenice, former Miss Mystic Rattle beauty champ, who had the temerity to go off to college where she became enamored of a "debate player" leaving Joe stuck with his wife Elfie, whose body has gone to hell after two children, messed up her teeth and can't keep the kids quiet. Elfie’s sister, Beeder, meanwhile is descending into her own private hell, lying in bed doing nothing but watching “the TeeVee” at loud volume and smearing feces in her hair after seeing her mother commit suicide rather than stay with her abusive father.

Lottie Mae, a young black girl, helps out Joe's sister sometimes by cooking for them. She likes watching the TeeVee with Beeder, especially during the NBC Nightly News that was so much better than detective stories and soap operas where you had to "put up with a lot of talking and fooling around before you got to the good parts." The news "went right to the robbing and killing, the crying and the blood, burning buildings and mashed cars. Them NBC Nightly News sumbitches was mean. Soon kill you as look at you. Killed somebody every night. Sometimes drowned whole towns in the ocean. Or made babies grow together at the shoulder." Followed by a Ford commercial, "The closer you look, the better we look!"

Joe was beloved by the whole town and his exceptional quietness off the field "everybody chose to call courtesy. He had the name of being the most courteous boy in all of Lebeau County, although it was commonly known that he had done several pretty bad things, one of which was taking a traveling salesman out to July Creek and drowning him while nearly the entire first string watched from high up on the bank where they were sipping beer."

Joe's only future seems to be selling illegal liquor. Everything is closing in on him as he begins to feel like in a barrel of snakes, "a writhing of the darkness, an incessant boiling of something thick and slow-moving." Joe's father is an intensely cruel and savage man who runs his pit bulls to exhaustion to prepare them for the dog fights the night of the snake hunt. Joe knows that things have become a little crazy, as more and more people crowd into the campgrounds, overflowing the portapotties, and an undercurrent of violence begins to pervade the area. "Just a bunch of crazy people cranking up to git crazier," he says. "But that's all right. Feel on the edge of doing something outstanding myself." He does indeed go over the edge, and the sheriff gets his comeuppance in a spectacularly appropriate manner by Lottie Mae, one of the sheriff's victims who faces her fear of his snake in her own way.

Crews portrays a dark side of the South, filled with grotesque characters and bizarre places, incest, adultery, and murder. One wonders how people could descend to such depths. Personally, I think it's the influence of country western music.