Never Come Morning
Ernest Hemingway called Nelson Algren's Never Come Morning "the best book to come out of Chicago." The book is a romance set in the mid-twentieth century Polish community of Chicago's Northwest side. Algren was a rotten card player and lived on Ashland Avenue on Chicago's Northwest side. He knew the people he wrote about, and he and his one time lover, Simone de Beauvoir, used to go down and observe the police line ups for entertainment. Never Come Morning is the story of Bruno Bicek, a down and out slum rat and thug with dreams of earning fame as a pug and his girlfriend Steffi. Algren uses the relationship between Bruno and Steffi to penetrate the gripping despair of Chicago's Polish slum and contrasts it with the dreams that keep its denizens going. Algren pulls no punches. Instead of glamorizing the working class, or in this case the barely working class, Algren gives us a powerful, gritty, tough, brutal work that touches a raw nerve where the poor and innocent are ground up, dragged down a gravel road and spit out. Algren writes with such power that in 1942 the President of the Polish Roman Catholic Union lobbied the books publisher - Harper and Row to withdraw the book from circulation, arguing : "I protest the further publishing of his book, for it fosters national disunity and should have no place in our libraries and homes." Chicago's Mayor Edward Joseph Kelly did get the book removed from the Chicago Public Library. This is a perfect book for reading with a beer.