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Ironweed (1983)

by William J. Kennedy

Series: The Albany Cycle (Book 3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,278465,498 (3.82)114
Winner of The Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the third in Kennedy's Albany cycle, Francis Phelan, ex-ballplayer, part-time gravedigger, and full-time bum with the gift of gab, has hit bottom. Years earlier he'd left Albany after he dropped his infant son accidentally, and the boy died.  Now, in 1938, Francis is back in town, roaming the old familiar streets with his hobo pal, Helen, trying to make peace with the ghosts of the past and present.… (more)
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» See also 114 mentions

English (44)  Spanish (2)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Iron Weed starts out good - interesting characters, amazing writing. The about 3/5 of the way through, it takes a nose dive. It goes sideways too far into a background that wasn't needed. Fortunately, it gets back to the current time before it ends, helping redeem it to a four star for me. Kennedy creates riveting characters with (almost) enough rationale for their actions - with Annie the possible exception. I haven't read the first two books in the series and I might not go out of my way to track them down, but if I stumble across them at a book sale or something like that, I'd gladly give them a read. ( )
  Sean191 | Aug 18, 2021 |
Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
As I began reading this I was at some level aware of the story. I had never watched the movie, but I was aware when the movie came out and I must have seen a trailer or read something about the story at that time. And I had read some GR reviews that described enough of the tone of the novel to confirm my other impressions. I wasn't expecting to love this story. I was thinking it would be dark and depressing. Well, that preliminary impression was not far off, but it didn't matter. I thought the writing was wonderful, and the characters were crisp and vivid. Yes, there was a lot of violence, and there was frustration for me because the characters didn't have to be in the position they found themselves. But that was an integral part of the story. It wasn't all bad luck. There were choices made, and recognition by the characters of those choices. They knew themselves such that their lives were inevitable. That inevitability made the thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing nature of the story that much more impressive. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
Dark, dreary..too wordy. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
Steinbeck meets Selby ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
To course o'er better waters now hoists sail the little bark of my wit, leaving behind her a sea so cruel. --Dante, Purgatorio
Dedication
This book is for four good men:
Bill Segarra, Tom Smith, Harry Staley, and Frank Trippett.
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Riding up the winding road of Saint Agnes Cemetery in the back of the rattling old truck, Francis Phelan became aware that the dead, even more than the living, settled down in neighborhoods.
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Winner of The Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the third in Kennedy's Albany cycle, Francis Phelan, ex-ballplayer, part-time gravedigger, and full-time bum with the gift of gab, has hit bottom. Years earlier he'd left Albany after he dropped his infant son accidentally, and the boy died.  Now, in 1938, Francis is back in town, roaming the old familiar streets with his hobo pal, Helen, trying to make peace with the ghosts of the past and present.

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Average: (3.82)
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