Friday, December 11, 2009


I surprisingly enjoyed “Chicago: City on the Make.” Not enjoying the novels for this class so far (Sorry Luis!) I expected the same old, same old. Maybe it was the atmosphere that I read it in, (a speeding El train above the swarming city on a rainy day), maybe it was the city I so love, or maybe it was just super good, but as cheesy as it sounds, I was touched by Algren.

Chicago: City on the Make was like nothing I had ever read. Vastly different, it is more then just a book! It is a freaking experience! As weird as this may sound, reading this book was like having sex. Let me explain.The book starts off at break neck speed. Whipping around Chicago like a speed demon. The reader is left breathless and follows Algren every which way, wanting more, seeing where it will take you next. Not a long book, but thick with prose poetry It's one of those rare and sometimes great books that can be read aloud for the language alone.

But back on track. Algren is amazing at keeping his poetry flying high above what other authors could ever hope for, but then Algren's voice becomes tired, his prose more and more stretched until there's nothing left of the energy you find in the beginning. But you the reader are not upset. No! You knew it was coming and that that speed could not be kept indefinitely. You can not really put blame on the one who gave you such a wild ride.

Basking in the afterglow of a perfect read (which happen to take place on a train),

I couldn’t help put look at the city all around me. Algren knew he struck gold when it came to Chicago. He wrote about it like one writes about a lover. When he is at his best, he makes the place sound positively holy, like something that glows. The best part is you know exactly what he is talking about. As a native Chicagoan, every street mentioned, every restaurant alluded to, made me smile in recognition. It was like Algren was telling me a story I had heard many times before or a shared inside joke. Those who don’t know and love Chicago probably won’t enjoy Algren’s work. Oh well I say, more for me.

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