Seattle Al's Reviews > Ironweed

Ironweed by William  Kennedy
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U 50x66
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really liked it

As a disclaimer: when I finished this book, I discovered it was the last in a trilogy. I have not read the two preceding works. Nonetheless, here's my reaction to it as a stand-alone novel.
The book is difficult to characterize because the main character both engages and repels. He comes from an Irish-American, Catholic, working-class family and neighborhood in Albany, NY, in the early decades of the 20th century. He is haunted by his past; he caused several deaths--some intentionally, some not. He has been a respected baseball player, a hooligan, a "bum" (his favorite word), and a fugitive from the police. We see him both among the homeless and among his family. We feel tenderness yet plenty of revulsion, and to be honest, some of the revulsion is at the squalid circumstances of his day-to-day existence.
The author uses a fair amount of Faulknerian-Joycean movement among events and memories and even hallucinations. I was a little disappointed by the ending (no spoiler coming), but otherwise, I think the novel moves us as much as it can with a main character we feel ambivalent about.
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Reading Progress

April 30, 2019 – Started Reading
April 30, 2019 – Shelved
April 30, 2019 – Finished Reading

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