RARA-AVIS: Algren's trip

From: Mario Taboada ( matrxtech@yahoo.com)
Date: 21 Jun 2002

As threatened, I started delving into the Algren holdings of my library. I brought down his _A Walk on the Wild Side_
(1956, Farrar, Straus and Cudahy).

In this ultrahardboiled novel, Algren is trying so hard to depict utter down-and-outers that the effect is half comic. Lots of whores, bums, pimps, grifters, losers, you name it. Lots of dialogue in dialect, including some very badly rendered Spanish.

Here's a sample:

"For a Do-Richt Dadsdy is right fond of money and still he don't hate fun. He charged the girls double for joint-togs and drinks, rent, fines, towel service and such. But before any night's ball was done, he joined in the fun."

Attention Ellroy influence-tracers: it looks like Ellroy has some Algren literary DNA.

I strongly recommend this book as competition for James Cain's _Love's Lovely Counterfeit_ for the "best bad noir novel by a famous guy".



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