was not a crime writer, but he wrote about hustlers and gamblers and addicts and hoods and corrupt politicians. While such non-crime writers as Charles Bukowski and John Fante and Jim Tully occasionally find their way into discussions of crime fiction, however, I have never heard Algren's name at a crime convention or read it on a crime blog. Why is this?
|(Nelson Algren Fountain base with part of |
inscription from Chicago: City on the Make)
I have not read Algren, but last month
I stayed in the heart of Algren country in Chicago's West Town, a block from the small, boarded-up fountain in the "Polish Triangle
" that I think is the neighborhood's only memorial to Algren. The inscription at the fountain's base reads: "For the masses who do the city's labor also keep the city's heart" — a sentiment perhaps out of step with contemporary America.
|(The Nelson Algren Fountain)|
(The Man With the Golden Arm
was the first winner of the National Book Award for fiction and was made into a celebrated film starring Frank Sinatra as the splendidly named Frankie Machine. Algren was Simone de Beauvoir's lover for years, when she could get that pesky Jean-Paul Sartre out of the way, and I'm guessing Lou Reed read Algren's novel A Walk on the Wild Side.
The inscription on the fountain's base comes from Algren's essay Chicago: City on the Make
, a copy of which I could not find in Chicago.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2014
Labels: Chicago, Nelson Algren, what I did on my vacation