Dove Findhom is a naive country boy who busts out of Hicksville, in pursuit of a better life in New Orleans. Amongst the prostitutes, bootleggers and hustlers of the old French Quarter, he finds only hopelessness, crime and despair. His quest uncovers a harrowing grotesque of the American Dream. This book has inspired Lou Reed's famous song.
"... a cult classic....Less of a traditional narrative and more like a poetic force of nature, Wild Side is a boisterous panegyric to the side street solitaries who dream their impossible dreams" (The Telegraph)
"One of the most powerful books I have ever read." (Alyson Rudd The Times)
"The 1956 classic that gave Lou Reed his most famous song is republished in paperback with an introductory essay from Russell Banks - and don't be tempted to skip it: this pocket-book guide to Algren's own life of doomed love, addiction and disappointment, is a gripping read in itself." (The Scotsman)
"Mr. Algren, boy, you are good." (Ernest Hemingway)
"The intensity of his feeling, the accuracy of his thought, make me wonder if any other writer of our time has shown us more exactly the basis of our democracy. His hell burns with passion for heaven." (New York Times Book Review)
From the Back Cover
"Mr Algren, boy, you are good."
The story of a naïve country boy who busts out of Hicksville, Texas, in pursuit of a better life in New Orleans. A Walk in the Wild Side is a large-hearted, funny, angry, lonely masterpiece, a book that has captured the imaginations of every generation since it first appeared in 1956, and that rendered a world later immortalised in
Lou Reed's classic song.
"Deserves to be read by every Catch-22 and Cuckoo's Nest freak just so they can find out what opened the door for [these] two novels ... It's not that before Heller and Kesey there was Algren. It's that Algren is where they came from."
"The intensity of his feeling, the accuracy of his thought, make me wonder if any other writer of our time has shown us more exactly the basis of our democracy. His hell burns with passion for heaven." New York Times Book Review
"Algren wrote with courage and love against the grain of the American empire ... embodying a vision of truth that seems strikingly contemporary." Richard Flanagan
Nelson Algren was born in 1909 in Detroit and lived mostly in Chicago. His published works including A Walk on the Wild Side (which inspired the Lou Reed song of the same name), Somebody in Boots and Never Come Morning. He was also a prolific writer of short stories, essays, travelogues and poems. In 1950 The Man with the Golden Arm earned him the first American National Book Award.
His life was a succession of gambling problems, disastrous marriages and wild extremes - ranging from Texas prisons and skid-row soup-kitchens to Hollywood parties and literary celebrations. He also had a passionate love affair with French feminist Simone de Beauvoir.
Algren died in 1981, shortly after being appointed as a fellow of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.