The Man with the Golden Arm

The Man with the Golden Arm


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Back in print at last is this masterwork of one of the truly original voices in 20th-century American literature. Chicago card dealer and junkie Frankie Machine is as tough as anyone in the Windy City's underworld--but not tough enough to break his habit. This fiction classic was made into an acclaimed film directed by Otto Preminger, starring Frank Sinatra.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780941423380
Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/1990
Pages: 348

About 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.

What People are Saying About This

Ernest Hemmingway

"Into a world of letters for the fading Faulker in that overgrown Little Abner Thomas Wolf Cast Shorter Shadows Every Day, Algren comes like a corvette or even a big distroyer when one of those things is what you need and need badly and at once and for keeps...Truman Capodi fans grab your hat, if you have any, and go. This is a man writing and you should not read it if you cannot take a punch...Mr. Algren can hit with both hands and move around and he will kill you if you are not awfully careful...Mr. Algren, boy, you are good."

Malcolm Cowley

"Algren's defense of the individual brings a new dimension to naturalism."

Customer Reviews

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The Man with the Golden Arm 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
mojomomma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here's a feel-good book that will restore your faith in humanity. Not! Algren's tale of hustler Frankie Majcinek (or Machine) in post WWII Chicago is utterly bleak and depressing. All you can do is watch Frankie slowly circle the drain. Lots of dialect and slang makes it difficult to know what's happening to whom. The writing may be inspired, but its just too dreary for me.
jenniferthomp75 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dense and provocative, Algren's classic novel about addiction is just as relevant today as it was 60 years ago. Although I found it difficult at first, especially with the slang, I decided to try and read while the soundtrack to the film version played in the background. Immediately, I found that I understood the book better and felt a part of the time period. Can't wait to check out the film and compare the two.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nelson Algren wrote: ". . . I was going to write a war novel. But it turned out to be this Golden Arm thing. I mean, the war kind of slipped away, and those people with the hypos came along and that was it."This suggests that Algren was overcome by his own creation, and I suppose that can happen sometimes, when you create such real gritty characters. This novel, The Man With the Golden Arm, is certainly gritty, and real, and a fascinating read. The characters literally jump out at you from the page and you realize that the author knows these people and has the skill to impart that knowledge. While sometimes both harrowing and grim, the novel grips the reader and does not let him go. My reaction, as it was with Camus' The Stranger, is that this is not a world I would want to live in but it makes me think. If you enjoy this book you might want to explore Never Come Morning and other works by Nelson Algren.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a Frank Sinatra movie.
puzzleman More than 1 year ago
This story begins somewhat darkly. Our friends are in the slammer, and they are getting little respect from the orderlies. After release, we get a look at their lives, and the lives of their buddies and women. And the picture is bleak. I thought this was going to be an adventure/drama type story. Now I wonder what the point is. Is this a comedy? Because there are funny angles. Is it a commentary on society? Or is it a glimpse at how some pathetic souls live? Are we supposed to do something? How can we do anything? It is a dark story for sure. Frank and Sophia. Violet and Stash. Smoky, rank poker halls, where the fix is always in. All live in misery, the hustled and the hustlers. This is a book I did not want to pick up again. A bad choice for the first award. A bit like 'them' from Joyce Carroll Oates. A terrifically sad, depressing story about the lost souls humanity may always have. Glad to be done with it. Now on to a good story.
Analogkid60 More than 1 year ago
Feeling a little low in spirit? If you take meds for depression, you should definitely skip this one as it is a total downer. The man with the golden arm is the story of an impoverished, morphine addicted card hustler set in post war Chicago. While dreaming of playing drums in a big band someday, Frankie Machine deals cards every night at a back room gambling parlor. He has an affair, shoots morphine, gets busted for stealing and does a brief stint in the joint where he cleans up; but it does little to ebb the guilt he feels for causing the car crash that left his wife crippled, bitter and insane. Author Nelson Algren gives a sad, if not eye opening look into the seedier side of the supposedly sanitized post war America. It’s a world of illegal gambling, hustlers, dope fiends, burlesque houses, petty theft, and murder. Craving an uplifting happy ending? Better read something else. This realistic look at the life of an addict at a time when drug use was still underground will make you grateful that your life is not a bleak as that of Frankie Machine.