Friday, October 23, 2009
Chicago: City on the Make
I feel bad for posting all these posts at the same time. Sorry guys. I had them all posted on my own blog but I wasn't able to post until recently, so...yeah. Anyways, City on the Make. I really liked it. At first I didn't know what to think of the book, because it was really random and I didn't see a very linear story. I had no idea what to expect, this being my first delve into Algren, and I thought it was going to be more of tale of something than a portrait of the city in pieces. However, after I got over my own expectations and accepted the book for what it is, I learned to love it. I think Algren does an awesome job showing a little slice of Chicago-ness. He captures the grittiness and underground feel that encompasses Chicago for me. I love that the people he draws upon come to life and really paint Chicago as a city of gangsters and corruption and darkness, but in a lovable sort of way. That is what Chicago really is for me; it is a place of mystery and darkness and shadow and wonder and awe, and I feel like Algren really captures these emotions. I saw a lot of similarities with the way Sandburg captures the feel of the city in Chicago Poems. Both men really see Chicago as a dark and corrupt place, but also a very wonderful and strange city. Algren takes the portraits Sandburg captures in Chicago Poems and makes them into a more prosy, stream of consciousness sort of portrait of a bustling and wild city that is highly intriguing. Both authors don't try to fluff up the way of the city, or to change it, but rather commemorate the way that it is scary and welcoming at the same time.