His novel The Man With The Golden Arm won the very first National Book Award, back in 1950. I'm not crazy about Otto Preminger's adaptation with Frank Sinatra, but how can you not love a protagonist named Frankie Machine? He plays cards, he plays drums, and he's addicted to morphine. Talk about a monkey on your back.
Of course, Algren is also known for his affair with Simone de Beauvoir, his relationship with the city of Chicago, and his novel A Walk On The Wild Side, an inspiration for one of Lou Reed's best-known songs.
|The Neon Wilderness (Doubleday, 1947)|
|The Man With The Golden Arm (Doubleday, 1949)|
|A Walk On The Wild Side (Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1956)|