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Never a Lovely So Real: The Life and Work of Nelson Algren

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4.80  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  6 reviews
For a time, Nelson Algren was America’s most famous author, lauded by the likes of Richard Wright and Ernest Hemingway. Millions bought his books. Algren’s third novel, The Man with the Golden Arm, won the first National Book Award, and Frank Sinatra starred in the movie. But despite Algren’s talent, he abandoned fiction and fell into obscurity. The cause of his decline wa ...more
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
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4.80  · 
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 ·  25 ratings  ·  6 reviews


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Aaron Shulman
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't say this lightly: This book is a masterpiece. It is crisply and addictively written, tenaciously researched, and both generous in spirit and critical in approach. You don't have to be interested in Algren or even know who he is, or be into literary biographies, to love this book. It is the story of a brilliant writer who lived a singular life, but also the story of 20th-century America, with striking relevance to our current moment. Ultimately, this book is about the meaning and purpose ...more
Mckeage
Jun 02, 2019 is currently reading it
I have read a lot of author's biographies but this one is outstanding. That was clear from the introduction, when Mr. Asher, wrote,"The first you should know about Nelson Algren is that he wrote like this:” That is an absolutely inspired way to begin a biography about an author especially one as singular and underappreciated as Algren has been. The book grabbed my attention and held it all the way through to the equally extraordinary afterword where Mr. Asher talked about how and why Algren is r ...more
Johnny Wimmer
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Never a Lovely So Real" came to us from a Goodreads giveaway, and it's a good book. This dense biographical work covers the life and works of Nelson Algren and is an interesting look at a great writer. Good detail combined with a winning character add to a marvelous story. This book adds scope and dimension to the complexity of a writers life. It tells of the hard tough times, as well as the winning moments in raw detail to enhance the story. Well recommended!
Aimee
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is an incredibly detailed account of the life of a fascinating author, Nelson Algren. I haven’t read an Algren novel yet but, after being immersed in his life and learning all about the inspiration for this writing, I’ll definitely pick one up.
Diana
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As thorough a biography of Algren as it's possible to create. Well written and accessible. Must read for anyone interested in Algren's life and work.
Alex Kudera
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The biography ends on a sad note, but in it, we learn that Nelson Algren enjoyed a wide variety of successes and failures along the road.
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