I am reading NEVER A LOVELY SO REAL, The Life and Work of NELSON ALGREN, by Colin Asher, and it has been been riveting, engrossing. Colin Asher is a wonderful writer – concise, descriptive, detailed, passionate about his subject. An incredibly well researched biography – not a genre I commonly gravitate toward – this one has got me. Was drawn to this book by a review I read, even though I have not read any Algren in years, and even then, very little. I am so glad I followed my gut on this one.
Algren was a fascinating man, always embodying the times he lived in. He peeled back the layers to get to a thing’s essence and could do so with just a few beautiful strokes. He battled some demons, struggled often, but was a writer of great truths. So much of what he wrote is still so relevant today it is unsettling. Check this out, these lines written in 1953, describing the US –
Never has any people possessed such a superfluity of physical luxuries companioned by such a dearth of emotional necessities. In no other country is such great wealth, acquired to purposefully, put to such small purpose. Never has any people driven itself so resolutely toward such diverse goals, to derive so little satisfaction from an attainment of any.
All I can say is, yikes!
Besides an in depth portrait of the man, it is also a well researched snapshot of the first 80 years of the 20th century. Really an engrossing read and one I can recommend unequivocally.