THE TEXAS STORIES OF NELSON ALGREN by Nelson Algren

THE TEXAS STORIES OF NELSON ALGREN

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Usually thought of as an urban midwestern realist, Algren (190981) also wrote gritty, cynical accounts of rural poverty and crime set in Texas during, and as transformed by, the Depression years. The stories are set in tank towns and hobo jungles and jails, and comprise a virtual sociology of life on the bum (where ``God help you if you run and God help you if you fight; God help you if you're broke and God help you if you're black''). The best of these pieces, chosen by editor Drew (Nelson Algren: A Walk on the Wild Side, 1989), include several harsh excerpts from Algren's first novel, Somebody in Boots (1934), most notably the violent ``Thundermug,'' and two stories from his famous collection The Neon Wilderness (1951)--the more compelling of which is ``Depend on Aunt Elly,'' the gritty tale of a luckless whore's relationship with a traveling boxer. The standout later work is ``The Last Carousel,'' a wonderfully detailed picture of carnival life that effectively showcases the hard-boiled lyricism for which this often underrated writer deserves to be better remembered.

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 1995
ISBN: 0-292-71577-3
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Univ. of Texas
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1995




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