Posts tagged “stop smiling”
July 30, 2009The problem with a writer like Nelson Algren — a writer who's at once so good and so inexplicably forgotten — is this: how do you get readers to remember how good he is? We're talking about a writer whose core beliefs include the statement that "I can see no purpose in writing about people who have won everything" — but in America in the 1950s, the book-buying public had won everything, and Algren — and the seething, fantastic underbelly of America he chronicled — faded from their sight. But the double review of Entrapment and Other Writings in Stop Smiling is a hopeful sign. From Beth Capper: . . . Algren comes out swinging with prose so shattering that it makes the whole read worthwhile. Such writing demonstrates that the America Algren canonizes is both nostalgic and ever-present, as though if you scrubbed hard enough at the sidewalk on Chicago's Division Street — now lined with fashionable boutiques, cafes and condos — you might see the scuffed heels of the prostitutes he was so fond of writing about. . . his word on Chicago has become the final one.