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Never Come Morning

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  343 ratings  ·  29 reviews
An unusual book and a brilliant book - The New York Times

One of the finest works of American literature that I have read - James T. Farrell

A knockout - Saturday Review of Literature

Never Come Morning depicts the intensity of feeling, the tawdry but potent dreams, the crude but forceful poetry, and the frustrated longing for human dignity residing in the lives of the Poles
Paperback, 310 pages
Published November 5th 2002 by Seven Stories Press (first published 1941)
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(showing 1-30 of 746)
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Jason Pettus
(This is part 2 of a special 14-part essay series I'm writing this year, examining in detail nearly the entire ouevre of controversial Chicago author Nelson Algren, on the occasion of his 100th birthday. For an introduction to this series, as well as links to all the other essays, you can click here for the special page at the CCLaP website.)

As any artist who's gone through the experience can tell you, it can be humiliating to be publicly spanked for a high-profile yet deeply flawed project from
My favorite book ever written about Chicago. Maybe the most brutal book ever read either.
I am still processing the ending, as I just finished it four minutes ago, but I think I was fairly pleased with the novel. I will write more about it after I have time to reflect more, but it ended perfectly.

Edit - After months, perhaps I can express my opinions on this novel:

Basically, if you are looking for a beautiful story about Polish American's living in Chicago that makes the reader feel optimistic about society, do not read this book. If you want a gritty, realistic, noir like compendium
I read this for book group. I'm glad we picked something out of my comfort zone and that I've read something by Nelson Algren. Can't say that I'll read anything else by this author.

The main characters are young people in West Chicago in around the 1940's. They have no clear way to improve their lot in life and scramble to try to get connections to aldermen, chances to fight in boxing matches and any other leg up. In this group there are no redeemable characters. The women are used and only maint
David Schaafsma
I'll add more later, as I just finished this, but I am glad I finally read the novel by once famous Chicago realist writer Algren, who once was touted by fellow Chicago writer Hemingway as one of the two best Chicago writers ever. This is technically (as I learned, not from my own reading) his second novel, the first being a book influenced by his connections with John Reed, Marxist ideology, and Communism, and the book (I am told) reads like a diatribe, filled with quasi-Marxist slams on capita ...more
Ben Richmond
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter Tavolacci
I went through this pretty quickly, and will edit and add to it later. I hope y'all enjoy the book.

I was interested in this novel before turning the first page. Honestly, I loved the cover. I figured that if the novel was nearly as honest, tough, unforgiving, and noir as the photograph of Algren smoking, I would enjoy the read. I had heard from folks involved in UIC’s English department that Algren was a fantastic writer, and was intrigued in hearing that his readership had fallen off since the
This book was okay. I never really cared for the main character. It was noted by the author in a new preface for this edition that the book was banned from the Chicago Public Library for around 20 years because the Polish community was offended by the characters that were portrayed in the story. It’s very likely that’s how it was back then and those that were protesting were just trying to hide the reality. They accused the author of being in league with the Germans and traitorous Poles (the boo ...more
Rick Homuth
Algren's first novel is less ethereal than the other stuff of his that I've read, with what is (in my opinion) more of a concrete, linear, novel-like story, but with just enough of his poignant lyricism to keep me looking up from the book every few pages just to stare into the distance and say "Fuuuuuuuuck" to myself.
Frank Tempone
Did Sylvester Stallone read this before writing Rocky? There are some strange similarities between the two stories.
May 23, 2010 Milli rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
It took me a while to read this book due to other life distractions, but in the couple hours where I could sit down and read it, I was hooked. What struck me most was the dialogue; Algren brings to life the Chicago accent and dialect beautifully. Since my family all comes from the Southside, and I spent most of my childhood enamored with those neighborhoods, even the time barrier seemed insignificant as I read the descriptions of Oak Street Beach and the 'av'noo.' Good stuff. One of those books ...more
Mor Fleisher-Leach
One of the best books around. Algren has a way of discribing his characters' actions and surroundings in such a realistic and tantelizing way, one has to read it to understand.

If you like Polish immigrants in America, Chicago, boxing, & a damned good story, pick this one up.
This is a brilliant study of hope in a hopeless neighborhood. It's about teenagers who have no real choices making bad decisions, and then worse decisions, based on pride, fear, guilt and the belief that they'll never escape. It isn't warm and fuzzy. It is real.
Not Algren's best but still Algren. What I mean to say is that the story wasn't the best story I ever read but Algren's style, the dialogue, the prose, the pacing are all as good as any of his other books. I just thought the story itself was... Eh.
Poor Lefty made all the wrong decisions in life. This is a stark view of what life might have been like for a Polish immigrant in the late 30s. I'd classify it as a tragedy, but an interesting historically based story.
writing shows a true, unadorned understanding of the subject and the lives and society he is depicting. Nothing Didactic about it, unsettling and grim, but that's how it is, its not written for a calculated shock--that's key.
Sam Fletcher
Normally it doesn't take me long to become interested in a novel, but for some reason that never happened. I was bored. Even though I live in Chicago, I found myself never connecting with any scenes, characters, etc.
Lara Neel
I loved this book. I have no idea why Algren isn't as famous as Hemingway. His prose is as heartbreakingly gorgeous and well-constructed.
this is seedy, harsh, and all the violence is non-gratuitous. so i had a hard time with it - i couldn't even bring myself to finish it- but i think this guy is brilliant.
Jul 17, 2008 Patrick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Patrick by: Will Oldham was talking about it in an interview I read in some
Incredible book- Bicek's life in Chicago as a down and out boxer was really inspiring to me. I want to reread it. I read this when I was in high school.
He just keeps making all the wrong decisions, and OH NO! don't do that, and ah jeez, YIKES, and oh man!
Lane Wilkinson
Another bit of proof that Algren is the master of the empathetic portrayal of the down-and-out.
justin louie
4 for the story, +1 for the interview at the end of this edition
Oct 08, 2007 Scott rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: novel
Poor people in Chicago. Funny way of talkin' and great dialogs.
Apr 12, 2011 Erin marked it as to-read
Honestly can't remember where I heard of this...
Good intro to Algren.
So gritty it is beautiful
Michael S
Jul 05, 2013 Michael S rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Michael by:
More great Algren stuff
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Born of Swedish-immigrant parents, Nelson Ahlgren Abraham moved at an early age from Detroit to Chicago. At Illinois University he studied journalism. His experiences as a migrant worker during the Depression provided the material for his first novel Somebody in Boots (1935). Throughout his life Algren identified with the American underdog. From 1936 to 1940 (the highpoint of left-wing ideas on th ...more
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“The great trains howling from track to track all night. The taut and telegraphic murmur of ten thousand city wires, drawn most cruelly against a city sky. The rush of city waters, beneath the city streets. The passionate passing of the night's last El.” 12 likes
“The Irish 'n Polacks always get along- didn't ya ever notice? Irish 'n Polacks live on p'tatoes 'n got it in for Hitler, that's why they get along so good; all over the world. Never heard of no war between Poland 'n Ireland, did you? No sir, that's cause we're all Cath'lics.” 7 likes
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