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The Neon Wilderness

Overview

As rock and roll novelist Tom Carson writes in his introduction, "The Neon Wilderness is the pivotal book of Nelson Algren's career--the one which bid a subdued but determined farewell to everything that had earlier made him no more than just another good writer, and inaugurated the idiosyncratic, bedevilled, cantankerously poetic sensibility that would see him ranked among the few literary originals of his times."
Algren's classic 1947 short story collection is the pure vein ...
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Overview

As rock and roll novelist Tom Carson writes in his introduction, "The Neon Wilderness is the pivotal book of Nelson Algren's career--the one which bid a subdued but determined farewell to everything that had earlier made him no more than just another good writer, and inaugurated the idiosyncratic, bedevilled, cantankerously poetic sensibility that would see him ranked among the few literary originals of his times."
Algren's classic 1947 short story collection is the pure vein Algren would mine for all his subsequent novels and stories. The stories in this collection are literary triumphs that "don't fade away."
Among the stories included here are "A Bottle of Milk for Mother," about a Chicago youth being cornered for a murder, and "The Face on the Barrome Floor," in which a legless man pummels another man nearly to death--the seeds that would grow into the novel Never Come Morning. Algren's World War II stories whose final expression would be in the novel The Man with the Golden Arm are also part of this collection. "So Help Me," Algren's first published work, is here. Other stories include, "The Captain Has Bad Dreams," in which Algren first introduced the character of the blameless captain who feels such a heavy burden of guilt and wonders why the criminal offenders he sees seem to feel no guilt at all. And then there is "Design for Departure," in which a young woman drifting into hooking and addiction sees her own dreaminess outlasting her hopes.

Nelson Algren's only short story collection, long out of print, is the most accessible compilation of his work.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583225509
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 379,637
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Recipient of the first National Book Award for The Man with the Golden Arm and lauded by Hemingway as “one of the two best authors in America,” NELSON ALGREN (1909-1981) remains one of our most defiant and enduring novelists. His body of work includes five major novels, two short fiction collections, a book-length poem, and several collections of reportage—one of the most substantial of any American writer.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 7
the captain has bad dreams 17
how the devil came down division street 35
is your name joe? 42
depend on aunt elly 47
stickman's laughter 65
a bottle of milk for mother 73
he couldn't boogie-woogie worth a damn 91
a lot you got to holler 104
poor man's pennies 119
the face on the barroom floor 127
the brothers' house 142
please don't talk about me when i'm gone 147
he swung and he missed 157
el presidente de mejico 165
kingdom city to cairo 179
that's the way it's always been 188
the children 200
million-dollar brainstorm 206
pero venceremos 217
no man's laughter 222
katz 230
design for departure 236
the heroes 263
so help me 272
afterword 287
an interview with nelson algren 294
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