The Man with the Golden Arm - Essay Example

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The Man with the Golden Arm

.. Mr. Algren, boy, you are good" ("Review Quote": np).
After reading this novel, I am compelled to agree. This novel is at times strange, at times very dark, and always engaging and very interesting. People the world over all know Chicago by reputation, and yet the version of this famous city offered up by Nelson Algren is grittier and edgier than the versions offered up by tourist brochures or television sitcoms. The characters are also intriguing and engaging. There is an almost simultaneous sense of disgust and admiration as we experience how these characters aspire and strive in uncertain and distasteful circumstances. The atmosphere which he creates deepens rather than minimizes the reading pleasure. The novel's world is both plausible and foreign; more particularly, it is an atmosphere which we can imagine existing, but which also seems to be an atmosphere that we will never actually step into personally. There is a certain feeling of safety in this distance, which Nelson Algren provides through the medium of the novel. Finally, it is also important to note that Nelson Algren chooses and uses his words, both narrative and dialogue, meaningfully and succinctly. He does not bore the reader with tangential information. He does not deaden the plot with unnecessary details. Every word conveys meaning. ...Show more

Summary

Nelson Algren, the author of The Man with the Golden Arm, first published this novel in 1949; it won the very first National Book Award in 1950, and has since been made into a major motion picture. Nelson Algren was the author of many stories; however, The Man with the Golden Arm was considered by many critics and by many fans to be his best work…
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