Ironweed: A Novel [William J. Kennedy] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Winner of The Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle . After asking you to nominate books you felt were underappreciated, Ironweed by William Kennedy has come out of the hat to be our Reading. When the Paris Review interviewed William Kennedy in July , That same year, Kennedy would win the Pulitzer prize for Ironweed, sold.

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Francis Phelan, the central character in this Great Depression tale, is a man scarred to the bone. Francis concluded he had made yet another wrong decision, another in a long line.

In tragic dramas of earlier periods, writers often used kings and queens — people of high importance — as their main characters, partly because when those characters met with ruin, they lost kemnedy dignity in the long fall. He is comfortable with who he is and it is interesting to see how he addresses the ghosts that appear to him throughout the book in various ways.

I am sick of your melancholy histories, your sentimental pieties, your goddamned unchanging faces. I got all excited in the first few pages when ghosts of the bum’s victims show up; I thought maybe the author was going to do something different, a little unexpected magical realism to liven up a bleak depression story.


Ironweed Reader’s Guide

In fact, sometimes when reading this the mental, physical, and spiritual suffering of the characters was unbearable, it really hurt – but then it is completely compensated by joy a few pages later when an insight is made or an emotion is described perfectly.

Francis has spent his entire life running.

At first glance this epiphany-free book might alienate readers. Discuss the value of guilt, as well as its damaging effect, in human lives.

I may feel differently about this book later, but as of today I can give it three stars. Heck, I didn’t even know they existed. How does Francis react to the old acquaintances in the backyard bleachers?

In the very first chapter kennedt see Francis working as a gravedigger. It is in these scenes that I stopped blaming Francis, although he never ironweedd blaming himself. Join our mailing list! Guess them Pulitzer Prize folks know their game, alright.

Sad, but not melodramatic even though it certainly could have gone that direction many times. Way to go, butterfingers! Any notions of the hobo lifestyle having some kind of appeal are dealt with quickly and brutally here. Francis Phelan, a bum day laboring in an Albany cemetery, inadvertently stumbles upon his baby son’s grave. The best he can do is hope that they are like himself. Jan 11, Stephen rated it liked it Recommended to Stephen by: Sometimes novels and plays e.

No solo he gozado y me he emocionado con todos y cada uno de los ingredientes citados por el autor colombiano, sino que ha conseguido responder a cualesquiera de esas misteriosas e imprescindibles interrogaciones que culminan mi particular lista. These reflections might cause a normal person gooseflesh; Phelan isn’t one for too much remorse, not for his victims. Seeing into the life and heart of a washed up ballplayer and his hardships and how nonsensical the world is in the face of reason and what we deem “reality” was not only eye-opening it was just downright enlightening.


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Ironweed by William Kennedy

What might he say in return? Ironweedas you may have irlnweed out, was the winner. What are their feelings about Francis? I am glad I read it, even though it is a dark novel and somewhat depressing. But the bum just argues with the ghosts about why he was justified in killing them, he does a little self-examination, a bit of introspection, admits he’s a loser and guilt is all he has left, but it rings too hollow, like he’s really just excusing his horrible life.

Perhaps his grinding life on the street was actually a game. Comedic, but in a wincing way sometimes.