Entrapment and Other Writings

Entrapment and Other Writings

by Nelson Algren
     
 

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Nelson Algren sought humanity in the urban wilderness of postwar America, where his powerful voice rose from behind the billboards and down tin-can alleys, from among the marginalized and ignored, the outcasts and scapegoats, the punks and junkies, the whores and down-on-their luck gamblers, the punch-drunk boxers and skid-row drunkies and kids who knew they'd

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Overview

Nelson Algren sought humanity in the urban wilderness of postwar America, where his powerful voice rose from behind the billboards and down tin-can alleys, from among the marginalized and ignored, the outcasts and scapegoats, the punks and junkies, the whores and down-on-their luck gamblers, the punch-drunk boxers and skid-row drunkies and kids who knew they'd never reach the age of twenty-one: all of them admirable in Algren’s eyes for their vitality and no-bullshit forthrightness, their insistence on living and their ability to find a laugh and a dream in the unlikeliest places.
In Entrapment and Other Writings—containing his unfinished novel and previously unpublished or uncollected stories, poems, and essays—Algren speaks to our time as few of his fellow great American writers of the 1940s and ’50s do, in part because he hasn’t yet been accepted and assimilated into the American literary canon despite that he is held up as a talismanic figure. "You should not read [Algren] if you can’t take a punch," Ernest Hemingway declared. "Mr. Algren can hit with both hands and move around and he will kill you if you are not awfully careful."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

"Industrial civilization is incompatible with life.... Unless it's stopped... it will kill every living being," begin environmental activists Jensen (A Language Older than Words) and McBay (Peak Oil Survival), introducing the recurring theme and thesis of this radical report on the state of Earth and call to action. The book contrasts natural systems of growth and decay, in which soil and life forms feed each other, with "industrial civilization": "essentially a complicated way of turning land into waste": "garbage patches" cover more than 40% of oceans and multitudes of fish and birds are being killed by plastic waste, now more abundant in the seas than phytoplankton. Jensen and McBay trash "sustainability" stars like William McDonough, who designs "green" buildings without questioning their unsustainable uses (truck factories and airports); the authors argue that we value our culture more than the planet that sustains it. The book is flawed by lapses into rants and rages, but Jensen and McBay's message that we need to grow up and "put away the childish notion that we have the right to take whatever we want from nonhumans" is eminently reasonable. (Apr.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583228685
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
05/05/2009
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,256,761
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.80(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

One of the most neglected of modern American authors and also one of the best loved, NELSON ALGREN (1909–1981) believed that “literature is made upon any occasion that a challenge is put to the legal apparatus by conscience in touch with humanity.” His own voluminous body of work stands up to that belief. Algren’s powerful voice rose from the urban wilderness of postwar Chicago, and it is to that city of hustlers, addicts and scamps that he returned again and again, eventually raising Chicago’s “lower depths” up onto a stage for the whole world to behold. Recipient of the first National Book Award for fiction and lauded by Hemingway as “one of the two best authors in America,” Algren remains among our most defiant and enduring novelists. His work includes five major novels, two short fiction collections, a book-length poem and several collections of reportage. A source of inspiration to artists as diverse as Kurt Vonnegut and Donald Barthelme, Studs Terkel and Lou Reed, Algren died on May 9, 1981, within days of his appointment as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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