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Entrapment and Other Writingsby Nelson Algren
Synopses & Reviews
"There is pleasure of a hard and real sort here even for those who have never read Algren before. Of course, the specifics of his world, of his Chicago, have changed. But the human condition and social inequities he saw are still with us."—Chicago Tribune "Among the most serious and moving in American literature...With these books, Algren defined postwar American urban fiction, interweaving threads of social realism, his own leftist politics and noir."—Los Angeles Times
“Nelson Algren has been acknowledged as a master of that American Realism touched with poetry, which attempts to give voice to the insulted and injured. He is a philosopher of deprivation, a moral force of considerable dimensions, and a wonderful user of the language.”—Donald Barthelme
“So long, baby . . . walk pretty all the way,” says Ralph to his fourteen-year-old girlfriend on her way to the wild side, in the last story Nelson Algren ever published, gathered here in a treasure trove of previously uncollected fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews. Published during the centennial year of Algren’s birth, Entrapment and Other Writings contains some of Algren’s earliest short stories, as well as the last two he wrote before his death in 1981. The centerpiece of the collection is Algren’s unfinished novel, Entrapment. Based on the life of his friend Margo, a heroin addict and prostitute, the novel demonstrates some of his finest and most provocative writing.
Nelson Algren (1909-1981) wrote of the despised urban underbelly of America before it was fashionable to do so, and he still stands as one of our most defiant and enduring novelists. His novels include The Man with the Golden Arm, winner of the first National Book Award; A Walk on the Wild Side; and Never Come Morning.
Editor Brooke Horvath is the author of Understanding Nelson Algren. A poet as well, Horvath is a professor of English at Kent State University.
"'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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A treasure trove of unpublished writings, including a lost unfinished novel, to honor Nelson Algren's centennial birthday.
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 Algrens 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 hasnt 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 cant 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."
About the Author
Nelson Algren (1909-1981) wrote of the despised urban underbelly of America before it was fashionable to do so, and still stands as one of our most defiant and enduring novelists. His novels include The Man with the Golden Arm, winner of the first National Book Award, A Walk on the Wild Side, and Never Come Morning. Brooke Horvath is the author of Understanding Nelson Algren. A poet as well, Horvath is a professor of English at Kent State University.
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