UPDATE BELOW …
“This is the third biography of the great Nelson Algren, and it’s easily the best and simply an extraordinary book in its own right. Asher is a first-rate story-teller, and his book reads like a deeply researched novel about the strange and wayward life of a determined outsider. More than any first-rate American novelist of the postwar era, Algren has fallen through the cracks because of certain misconceptions about his work and person that Asher strives to correct; I applaud his heroic project, in a callous phase of our national history, to restore the reputation of a writer who evoked the singular dignity of the lowliest human lives.” — Blake Bailey, author of Cheever: A Life
“Nelson Algren is one of those fascinating, almost-mythical figures in 20th Century arts and letters, and Colin Asher’s fine biography brings him to life with breathless intensity. It also provides the necessary corrective to Algren’s hitherto misrepresented and misunderstood life and work, and restores him to the rightful position he should occupy in American literature.” — Deirdre Bair, National Book Award-winning author of Samuel Beckett: A Biography, and Simone de Beauvoir: a Biography
“A magnificently thorough and sensitive study of one of the great authors in twentieth century America. Nelson Algren, the instinctive rebel, troubled personality, object of liberal and conservative attacks in the Cold War era, rose above it all in his often brilliantly poetic prose. Colin Asher’s engrossing biography explores why Algren spoke for those who could not speak for themselves, and demonstrates why we desperately need a voice like his today.” — Paul Buhle, retired Senior Lecturer, Brown University, author of Marxism in the United States and co-editor of Tender Comrades: The Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist
“Colin Asher has written a deeply researched, moving account of a great writer’s life. Nelson Algren was a titanic talent, a mid-20th century comet of a novelist who lit up the literary landscape for two decades, then mysteriously darkened and all but disappeared. Asher’s biography goes a long ways towards explaining why.” — Russell Banks, two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, and author of The Sweet Hereafter, Continental Drift, Cloudsplitter, and many others.
Here’s why I’ve been waiting for it.
Finally, a biography that makes sense of Nelson Algren’s life.