Download Ebook Man With the Golden Arm, by Nelson Algren
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Man With the Golden Arm, by Nelson Algren
Download Ebook Man With the Golden Arm, by Nelson Algren
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- Sales Rank: #6640704 in Books
- Published on: 1949
- Binding: Hardcover
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
Not for emotional wimps
Simply put, this is not the kind of novel one takes lightly. It is a thought provoking, dark, and meaty book that causes the reader to feel and live the desperation of the characters portrayed. The book was written after WWll, and the aftermath of one man’s self-medication of a war injury with the morphine (heroin) drug. Looped into the mix is a very complicated marriage based on guilt, her lost hopes and dreams, those that worship the weak, and the weak that worship no one. It is a novel, I think better read several times, for the first time is as if you are numbed by the bleakness of it all, the heaviness and the heartbreak.
This is no novel for emotional wimps.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful.
Beautiful, dark, and unnerving.
By M. Mazza
The dimensional misery in which the novel’s characters find themselves is poetically narrated. Since the novel was published in the late 40’s, it belongs to an era where readers were patient enough to relish lengthy but poignant description. It’s an alluring read that can prove rewarding to all those who ponder its painful subtleties. The characters’ hopelessness may seem unbearable at times, but ironically, it is rendered in such beautiful prose that it easily illicits compassion and understanding from the reader. This alone makes it quite addictive. Frankie Machine and his cohorts (who never seem like cartoonish dregs, but actual people), embody what many would rather ignore: the reality of those who meet with constant disillusionment. The reader doesn’t have to be from the “underbelly” of America to empathize with the book’s main figures. In fact, Algren, through his melodic sentences of haunting sincerity, might even corrode the comfort of those who believe too strongly in the American Dream. Darkness and destitution have never exuded such truth and humanity.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
By Deb Oestreicher
I heard the title The Man with the Golden Arm long before I ever read the book or saw the movie. It’s a beautiful, evocative title, but it also makes you think of something grotesque: a man with a shiny prosthetic. When I got older, and knew the story centered on a junkie, the connotation became even more disturbing: an arm jaundiced by the hypo. I was never much into addiction stories and Algren’s book (purchased as a shiny new softcover back in the early 80s, when I was spending the greater part of my college loan money on the creation of a private library) sat on my shelf for more than 20 years.
It turns out that the book is quite a good read. Algren locates the source of dealer Frankie Machine’s addiction in his WW2 service-he was wounded and got hooked on the morphine that eased the pain of his injury. The novel also makes clear, though, that in spite of his friends’ admiration and awe of his Purple Heart, Frankie was no hero. A grunt’s grunt, he remained three years a private.
While the novel tells the story of Frankie’s several attempts to kick the stuff, what we get out of it is the tale of a loser in a community of losers, people the American dream has left behind: small-time swindlers, dwellers in fleabag tenements, drunks, and sweet girls who can’t get a break Among the sad detritus of this universe, located around Chicago’s West Division Street, Frankie Machine shines like a star, with his big talk and his talent (the “golden arm” refers to his sure skill dealing cards, which he hopes to transfer to playing the drums in a big band).
Still, his life spirals downward. And although the drugs are central, you can’t help feeling that if it weren’t morphine that did Frankie in, it would have been something else. At bottom, he doesn’t believe he’s worth saving; one of the achievements of the novel is that you end up feeling they’re all worth saving, not just Frankie, but also his grimier fellows. Algren draws his characters with such vividness that he takes you beyond pity and amusement to pure empathy with their humanity.
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