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Never Come Morning Paperback – 1 Feb 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press,U.S.; New edition edition (1 Feb 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583222790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583222799
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 1.7 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 564,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Aug 1999
Format: Paperback
Any writer can create a sympathetic character and maintain the reader's sympathy throughout a work. A good writer can create an unsympathetic character that gains our sympathy in the course of a story. But a truly great writer creates a very real character that has our sympathy at first, who then completely loses it, only to regain it at the end. This is what Nelson Algren excels at - the characters in Never Come Morning may not be like the people you know, but they exist in the real world as much as they live in Algren's Chicago. They are not perfect, in fact they are all too human--greedy, lustful, and stupid--products of an environment that does not forgive human nature. It is a compelling story that seems more powerful, more modern, more realistic than anything written in the last 20 years. Algren's prose combines the power of a heavyweight's best right hand with the meticulous detail of a fine tailored suit. Once you've read Algren, you will never read anything the same way again.
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Format: Paperback
I borrowed this book as I could not find 'A walk on the wild side' - and I very glad I did.

The story is set in the deprived Polish section of Chicago in the early 1940s. The setting is closely described and the characterization is strong at all levels. The central story line about a young male trying for success in the boxing ring is not always to the fore, in fact it is often not present at all. Algren's prose builds the characters (selfish, stupid, frustrated, abused and completely human by turns), environment (forget the Chicago skyscrapers and think more about the poorly built tenement blocks alongside the 'L' railway, a relentless grinding life) , motivations (ill-thought out, manipulative and/or passive) and struggles (often which have no obvious outcome apart from; money for that day or an immediate thrill).

Overall - a fantastic portrait of a lower edges of Chicago life - with no anodyne ending or artificially sweetened themes. It is a worthy addition to the themes touched upon by the (ultimately more-upbeat) 'The Jungle' (1906) by Upton Sinclair.

If you are after an unchallenging book with an easily predictable ending and a facile moral - this is not for you. If you are wanting something that will challenge you, make you think about society and its less fortunate - without either sanitizing or condemning them this is it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
item arrived in excellent condition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Catcher In The Rye for the rest of us 12 Oct 2003
By "disisdis" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I noticed in another customer review of this book that two key pieces of plot information are provided in the review itself. That is something no reviewer should ever do. Don't let that blemish keep you from buying this remarkable book. Never Come Morning is one of the finest novels you will ever read. This is Catcher In The Rye for the rest of us, for everyone who grew up more worldy than Holden Caufield.
Algren opens a window on Chicago's ethnic, inner city streets. The sights, sounds, smells, words and music of Chicago in the late 1940's are right there in front of you. He then points his highly accurate lens on his character's hearts, minds, concerns, fears, worries, struggles, hopes & dreams.
Never Come Morning is a lyrical, poetic work of fiction that's nonetheless so realistic it could have been yanked straight from the headlines of any city's newspapers, in any era, from the 1940's straight through to 2004. The novel describes the lives of several teenagers living on Chicago's Near Northwest side, in the late 1940's. It is realistic yet never exploitive, heart-wrenching yet never heavy handed.
Those familar with Chicago neighborhoods will delight in seeing The Triangle, Riverview, Humboldt Park, Division Street, Chicago Avenue, Western Avenue, Milwaukee Avenue, Oak Street Beach and Logan Square referenced in print. As El trains fly overhead - some down tracks still with us and some down tracks long-gone - you will be astounded at how well this writer has captured the Chicago of your youth.
Those familar with Chicago characters like the ones in this novel (Bruno Bicek, Steffi Rostenkowski, Catfoot Nowagrodski, Fingers Idzikowski, Fireball Kodadek, Bibleback Watrobinski, Casey Benkowski, Momma Tomek and The Barber) will have to put the book down and take a walk outside. The memories that come flooding back will be too STRONG, and too REAL.
Anyone who's lived in a neighborhood where kids run the nighttime streets, anyone who's ever hung out on a corner, tossed dice against a warehouse wall, walked a freight yard, played ball for a Park District League, been to Riverview, swam at Oak Street or dated a girl from the neighborhood will be shocked from the sheer force of recognition this amazing novel provides.
Yet even those who've never set foot in Chicago will be spellbound by this remarkable, poetic novel about tough kids growing up under tough conditions in a tough town. A must read for anyone interested in American Realism, and/or fiction carved from real life.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A seriously under-rated author's most under-rated novel 22 Oct 1999
By Mostly Mozart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Algren narrates the fall of Bruno Lefty Bicek, small-time hood and prize-fighter. Bicek comes alive under Algren's pen - not a hero, not a villain, but all too human, capable of love and of cowardice. Not as well-known as _The Man With the Golden Arm_ nor _A Walk On the Wild Side_, but, in my opinion, the equal of the first and superior to the second.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Nelson Algren, the voice of the dispossesed. 27 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Any writer can create a sympathetic character and maintain the reader's sympathy throughout a work. A good writer can create an unsympathetic character that gains our sympathy in the course of a story. But a truly great writer creates a very real character that has our sympathy at first, who then completely loses it, only to regain it at the end. This is what Nelson Algren excels at - the characters in Never Come Morning may not be like the people you know, but they exist in the real world as much as they live in Algren's Chicago. They are not perfect, in fact they are all too human--greedy, lustful, and stupid--products of an environment that does not forgive human nature. It is a compelling story that seems more powerful, more modern, more realistic than anything written in the last 20 years. Algren's prose combines the power of a heavyweight's best right hand with the meticulous detail of a fine tailored suit. Once you've read Algren, you will never read anything the same way again.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Frank and Brutal with a sense of Deja-Vu 15 Aug 2007
By An admirer of Saul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bruno 'Lefty' Bicek is a Polak on the Polak side of Division Street. He has day dreams of being admired; a hero in baseball or boxing. He daydreams of beating cheating opponents by playing clean; winning through skill alone. And he has his girl, Steffi R.
But with corruption everywhere,the police able to pick up and put away on a whim, and the need to be 'regular' with the gang members sees Lefty end up as all Division Street hoods do. Life beat out of them,dreams staying daydreams. Lefty loses his soul when he does nothing to stop Steffi being gang raped by the guys.He needed to keep 'regular'.

As ever, Algren never sanatises or justifies or explains. Its just written how it is, and 'Never Come Morning' is perhaps his most frank portrayal. It has few-if any-of the humour that creeps in his other novels.

Having read 'The Man With The Golden Arm', 'Walk on the Wild Side' 'Neon Wilderness' and now 'Never Come Morning' I know two things. First, Algren is a remarkable and socially observent writter. Second, he basically just writes the same story over and over with slightly different takes; from slightly different angles.
All the same things were present in 'Never Come..' as in the other Algrens I've read. The line up;Lefty's reasoning to the Captain as to why his gang had shaved heads came from a short story in 'Neon Wilderness' the heists are slight variations, the boxing accounts are the same etc etc.
This doesn't make Algren anything other than what he is-a great (Thomas Wolfe just wrote 'Look Homeward Angel' over and over again with slight variations and nobody disputes his greatness) it just means that his scope is limited, and 'Neon Wilderness' would perhaps be all you ever need to read to get the whole Algren repartee.
But for all that-and even though Algrens Chicago is long since dead-this is great reading
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Gritty americana from a forgotten master 2 Dec 2006
By empty pockets - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Never come morning is a exquisite novel of pain and dark urban reality. What makes Algren a better writer than so many others who work in this mileiu is that he doesn't moralize or create one-dimensional heroes. His characters pull you in because they have the complexity and tragic failings of real people. The imagery walks the line between the surreal and the actual, dreams interwoven with the brutal waking reality of inner-city poverty. This book alone puts Algren, who never got much fame and certainly not fortune for his work, on the map of great American writers.
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