“He was many men and no man at all. He was a hysterical little bundle of possibilities that could never come true.”
Canons edition of the modern American classic with an introduction by Irvine Welsh and an afterword by Kurt Vonnegut
Frankie Machine, a veteran of the Second World War, returns to Chicago’s Northwest side with a morphine habit. Nicknamed the ‘kid with the golden arm’, Frankie is an aspiring drummer by day and an illicit card-dealer by night. In Molly, an old flame, he sees the chance for redemption, for hard work and success - but the demons that chase Frankie are not quite ready to let go.Nelson Algren’s critically acclaimed and enormously powerful novel probes the lives of the displaced and dispossessed of post-war America.
“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”
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“Powerful, grisly, antic, horrifying, poetic, compassionate … [there is] virtually nothing more that one could ask”
new York Times Book Review
“The finest American novel published since the war”
“A classic portrayal … stylish, atmospheric and moving”
independent On Sunday
“A true novelist’s triumph”
Nelson Algren was born in 1909 in Detroit and lived mostly in Chicago. His life was a succession of compulsive gambling, disastrous marriages and wild extremes - ranging from Texas prisons and skid-row soup-kitchens to Hollywood parties. He also had a passionate love affair with French feminist Simone de Beauvoir while she was living with Jean-Paul Sartre.
Algren received the inaugural National Book Award for The Man with the Golden Arm. He died in 1981, shortly after being appointed as a fellow of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.