Sam's Reviews > Ironweed
Sep 08, 2015
A beautiful novel that relentlessly argues for and demonstrates the humanity of the houseless people, who are all too often demonized and criminalized. The novel's invocation of psychoanalytic theory, particularly mourning and melancholia, was quite compelling. I really enjoyed the way Kennedy utilized the dead throughout the narrative. I was constantly reminded of that great James Baldwin quote: "History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do." Kennedy's way of weaving poetry with prose and the past with the present made for some amazing passages. Ironweed is not a novel that I would have picked up on my own, and reading it reminded me of the dangers of not reading outside my comfort zone and research interests. I was truly surprised at how much I came to care about the characters by the end of the novel.
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