...,losers being the only ones left with something to say and no one to say it."
For me that sums up Algren's passion to tell the stories he wrote about real people scrabbling to get by. He was unflinching yet humane and the muscle of his prose adds to the realism and honesty of his work. Algren's anti-heroes cannot escape their downward spiral, but retain some kind of dignity despite their defeat. I am surprised and saddened by the reviews of Algren's work that want a zippier pace and plot -- that would undermine the theme and story world by going 'Hollywood' slick. You need an attention span to read an Algren book - and that's a good thing.
While I'm glad Canongate has republished this, I tried (and failed) to review the edition that I read... as the thought of Irvine Welsh associating himself with Algren -- if only by writing an introduction -- really annoys me. Algren was the real deal; Welsh has made a lot more money from his books but they don't come anywhere close -- Welsh just doesn't have the compassion in his writing that Algren did. Not a fraction of it. Canongate did well to publish Welsh... but hell, he's not in the same league as Algren, Kurt Vonnegut (the introduction), or Studs Terkel who wrote the 'Afterword'.