Ironweed (The Albany Cycle #3)
Now, in 1938, Francis is back in town, roaming the old familiar streets with his hobo pal, Helen, trying to make peac...more
The on-going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent’s house and untouched for almost 20 years. Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths.
Francis Phelan is living the romantic life of a hobo during the Great Depression. Drifting from town to town by hopping trains and with n...more
I wanted to hate this book. Portions of it are simply offensive. Those portions, however, are significantly outweighed by Kennedy’s ability to create beautiful prose out of objectionable material. There are, no doubt, pages of this book that read like poetry.
The first chapter is a compelling introduction to a character that begs for your revulsion, receiving instead your compassion. Francis Phelan is a bum, having left his wife and children over twenty years ago be...more
This is part of William Kennedy’s multi-volume Albany Trilogy, which would now be better-named th...more
Maybe there wasn't enough background to make the characters sympathetic? It's a really short book and I feel like some important parts were missing, or maybe they were alluded to and I'm not bright enough to pick up on them? Why was this bum so appealing to everyone? Why should I give a shit about him? That's what's missing.
I got all excited in t...more
A Bum’s Life
Before the title page of the novel is a description of the ironweed. What is it? It is a kind of plant that resembles a sunflower, blue-purple in color. What’s so special about it is that the plant is super tough. With that, what would you expect from the characters of the novel? Tempered from the hardest stuff. Not wimps, you might say?
Even the cover of my edition shows a portrait of a man, presumably the protagonist Francis Phelan. Long face, sunke...more
It was a strange read as it provoked mixed feelings in me. As I work in the city, I see a number of homeless people and usuall...more
In it, Kennedy tells the story of a bum who was once a well liked ball-player and family man but lost eve...more
"Ironweed" is chilly, bloody, thrilling, darkly-comic; and far from a crime novel. William Kennedy radiates those adjectives seemingly without any intention to do so. There aren't any mysteries, villains in a traditional sense (and DEFINITELY no heroes) and the action, even when it's colored in whiskey and guts, swarms on in a somewhat mellow, true-to-life pace, an understated rhythm that mimics earth's true tempo. A clock doesn't t...more
Francis Phelan left Albany in 1916 after he accidentally dropped and killed his baby son while drunk; after twenty two years living as a bum he returns, trying to make his peace with his memories. This simple idea is the basis for Kennedy's short but deep novel about coming to terms with the past; everyone has to live with the mistakes they have made (even if "what if..." is one of humanity's favourite games), and though Francis may have more ser...more
William Kennedy 3rd period
• During the exposition of the novel when Francis Phelan has to go to the cemetery and bury his infant son because he has died of an accident that he might be the cause of. In the rising action when he starts to look for a job because he has to afford all the things that he needs and cannot have them like others because he is a bum. As the story goes on and they get to the climax or the main conflict is when Francis decides to return to...more
William Kennedy 3rd
Genre: Fiction, mystery
• Exposition: the beginning of the story essentially starts Francis’s journey. It tells that he dropped his young so Gerald, killing him. It causes him to run away from his family and become a bum.
• Rising action: the rising action is that Rudy is saying he has cancer, and the two bums get a job at the cemetery.
• Climax: the climax is when Francis returns to his family after all of these years of running out on them. He finally...more
Ironweed received the Pulitzer Prize, it is included in The Modern Library Top 100 Best Novels and in the Western Canon of Harold Bloom.
I loved the book, but I had trouble with my visions. Before reading the novel, i had seen the movie with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. This is a big mistake I have made more than once.
I did not see all of the film Women in Love, but Glenda Jackson stayed with me and whenever Gudrun’s character got mentioned, I could only see Glenda...more
Kennedy’s work is full of emptiness and loss and a strange f...more
William Kennedy writes like a poet. I wanted to read this book with a pencil so I could underline and write notes in the margin. Isn't that the best kind of book? Alas, it was from the library. The next trip to Border's will find this book in my cart!
Francis is a downtrodden alcoholic living on the street...more
Transitioning from the ultimate indifferent characters in Tobacco Road to the utterly destitute ones in Ironweed was akin to stepping down anoth...more
In Albany, New York, William Kennedy has made a crucible to test the American dream. His novels, which range from the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth, bubble and crack with the energy of immigrants trying to take the main chance in the land of opportunity. In 1938, Francis Phelan, a murderer, is reduced to flop-houses and hobo jungles. Returning to Albany at the end of the Depression, he roams the familiar streets with his hobo pal Helen, trying to make peace wit
The prose was overstated for a bum book, but I grew to love it too. In fact, sometimes when reading this the mental, physical, and spiritual suffering of the characters was unbearable, it really hurt - but then it is completely compensated by joy a few pages later when an insig...more