NELSON ALGREN

13 Mar

Within the vast library of books that fill the modesty of my dwelling, I am oft times surprised to find a tome that long ago faded from my memory. This morning, I ‘discovered’ Nelson Algren (1909-1981). He was there where he’s always been of course: hiding in plain sight.

I remember him best within the words he penned in his three most noted novels:
The Neon Wilderness (1947)
The Man with the Golden Arm (1949)
A Walk on the Wild Side (1956)
Algren was one of our neglected writers, referring to himself as the ‘Penny whistle of American literature’.

His tombstone reads two lines written by Willa Cather:

THE END IS NOTHING
THE ROAD IS ALL

Perhaps his epitaph should have scribed, instead, his own words:

ON THE HEART IT DON’T MATTER HOW YOU SPELL IT

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