A Walk on the Wild Side: A Novel
With its depictions of the downtrodden prostitutes, bootleggers, and hustlers of Perdido Street in the old French Quarter of 1930s New Orleans, A Walk in the Wild Side has found a place in the imaginations of all generations since it first appeared. As Algren admitted, the book "wasn't written until long after it had been walked . . . I found my way to the streets on the other side of the Southern Pacific station, where the big jukes were singing something called 'Walking the Wild Side of Life.' I've stayed pretty much on that side of the curb ever since."
Perhaps the author's own words describe this classic work best: "The book asks why lost people sometimes develop into greater human beings than those who have never been lost in their whole lives. Why men who have suffered at the hands of other men are the natural believers in humanity, while those whose part has been simply to acquire, to take all and give nothing, are the most contemptuous of mankind."
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - BooksOn23rd - LibraryThing
A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE, by one of the most outstanding novelists of the 20th century, Nelson Algren, is another amazing example of his inimitable style. Here he follows illiterate Dove, a teenager ... Read full review
Dove Linkhorn is an uneducated sixteen year old who asks Mexican waitress, Terasina, to teach him how to read the Sunday funnies. He does mechanical and other work for truckers who stop at the restaurant. He's so green that after doing extensive work for one trucker, when asked his price, Dove gives such a low figure that Terasina steps in and gives a realistic figure and tells the driver not to forget the tip.
The novel describes the hard life of working people in the Texas and New Orleans vicinity in the 1930's depression.
Dovel travels from one encounter to another, trying to earn a living. He steals rides on railroads, has a Marine recruiter after his services, gets a non union job on the docks and more.
It's a tough time and we meet other characters who are overcoming their poverty. One young girl tells him, she's run away from The Home a number of times but when she's eighteen, she wants to marry a pick-pocket and settle down.
As Dove gets to know New Orleans, he learns more of what it will take to succeed. However, we don't feel his pain at poverty in the same manner of Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." There are so many episodes in this novel that the story is disjointed.