Ironweed

Ironweed

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

Francis Phelan, ex-ballplayer, part-time gravedigger, full-time drunk, has hit bottom. Years ago he left Albany in a hurry after killing a scab during a trolley workers' strike. He ran away again after accidentally -- and fatally -- dropping his infant son. Now, in 1938, Francis is back in town, roaming the old familiar streets with his hobo pal, Helen, trying to make peace with the ghosts of the past and the present. "A powerfully affecting work, abounding in humor and heartbreak." (Chicago Tribune Bookworld)
Read online
  • 2 343
Changó's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes

Changó's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year * From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ironweed*, a dramatic novel of love and revolution from one of America's finest writers. When journalist Daniel Quinn meets Ernest Hemingway at the Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba, in 1957, he has no idea that his own affinity for simple, declarative sentences will change his life radically overnight. So begins William Kennedy's latest novel-a tale of revolutionary intrigue, heroic journalism, crooked politicians, drug-running gangsters, Albany race riots, and the improbable rise of Fidel Castro. Quinn's epic journey carries him through the nightclubs and jungles of Cuba and into the newsrooms and racially charged streets of Albany on the day Robert Kennedy is fatally shot in 1968. The odyssey brings Quinn, and his exotic but unpredictable Cuban wife, Renata, a debutante revolutionary, face-to-face with the darkest facets of human nature and illuminates the power of love in the presence of death. Kennedy masterfully gathers together an unlikely cast of vivid characters in a breathtaking adventure full of music, mysticism, and murder-a homeless black alcoholic, a radical Catholic priest, a senile parent, a terminally ill jazz legend, the imperious mayor of Albany, Bing Crosby, Hemingway, Castro, and a ragtag ensemble of radicals, prostitutes, provocateurs, and underworld heavies. This is an unforgettably riotous story of revolution, romance, and redemption, set against the landscape of the civil rights movement as it challenges the legendary and vengeful Albany political machine.
Read online
  • 1 073
Riding the Yellow Trolley Car: Selected Nonfiction

Riding the Yellow Trolley Car: Selected Nonfiction

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

The collected nonfiction of the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Ironweed: “A great pleasure to read no matter what the subject” (Library Journal). When William Kennedy arrives in Barcelona, his guidebook recommends taking the trolley around town—but the trolleys haven’t run in the city for years. He’s on his way to interview the novelist Gabriel García Márquez when, out of the corner of his eye, he sees something impossible: a yellow trolley running down the street. Márquez, however, is not surprised; like all great writers of both fiction and nonfiction, he knows that impossible things happen every day. A remarkable collection from one of America’s greatest authors, Riding the Yellow Trolley Car features work from all stages of Kennedy’s career. Through each piece runs the thread that ties together his greatest works: a love and deep understanding of his hometown, the city of Albany, New York, and the good and evil men who have made it what it is. Featuring interviews and essays on some of the most prominent authors of the twentieth century, from Saul Bellow and E. L. Doctorow to Norman Mailer and the legendary García Márquez—as well as insightful reflections on topics from baseball to the death of a prominent cat to Kennedy’s wife’s hiccups—Riding the Yellow Trolley Car is an essential book for all those who love to read, or live to write.
Read online
  • 912
Billy Phelan's Greatest Game

Billy Phelan's Greatest Game

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

Billy Phelan, a slightly tarnished poker player, pool hustler, and small-time bookie, moves through the lurid nighttime glare of a tough Depression-era town. A resourceful man full of Irish pluck, Billy works the fringes of Albany sporting life with his own particular style and private code of honor until he finds himself in the dangerous position of potential go-between in the kidnapping of a political boss's son. In relating Billy's fall from the underworld grace and his storybook redemption, Kennedy captures the seamy underside of a brassy, sweaty city that would prefer to pretend that the Depression doesn't exist.
Read online
  • 704
Legs

Legs

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

Legs, the inaugural book in William Kennedy’s acclaimed Albany cycle of novels, brilliantly evokes the flamboyant career of gangster Jack “Legs” Diamond.  Through the equivocal eyes of Diamond’s attorney, Marcus Gorman (who scraps a promising political career for the more elemental excitement of the criminal underworld), we watch as Legs and his showgirl mistress, Kiki Roberts, blaze their gaudy trail across the tabloid pages of the 1920s and 1930s.
Read online
  • 688
The Ink Truck

The Ink Truck

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

A "wildly funny" novel of a monumentally unsuccessful newspaper strike in 1960s upstate New York from a Pulitzer Prize–winning author (People). The newspaper strike has stretched on for more than a year. When it began, the Guild boasted over 250 members. Now, they're down to eighteen, with only three truly serious about the cause. Their leader, Bailey, is a columnist with an outsize sense of his own importance and a hatred of scabs that borders on fanaticism. Married to a roller derby queen, but smitten with one of his fellow radicals, Bailey is on a path of self-destruction that could take the entire city's newspaper establishment down along with him. And that's just what he has in mind. With the cape-wearing old-school Rosenthal at his side, Bailey embarks on a mad mission: hijacking the newspaper's entire ink shipment and dumping it in the snow. But he's hardly taken his first step when the scheme spins out of control, trapping him...
Read online
  • 562
The Last Mission

The Last Mission

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

In 1943 and 1944, the Army Air Force flew bombing raids over Germany from bases in England. The losses of men and planes were horrific, a lottery of death in which young American Fliers counted each day as their last. One of those fliers now returns to his World War II base. He brings with him the answer to a wartime murder, a crime that was lost in the gap between English law and American military authority. He also brings a burning need to know the fate of the girl he loved, and then abandoned at the war's end. Last Mission is the story of a life that reached a crossroads at the intersection of war and peace, and the decisions that weren't seen until long after they had been made. Now, back at the base where his manhood was forged, he wonders what might have been if he had taken another direction.
Read online
  • 308
Roscoe

Roscoe

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

It's V-J Day, World War II is finally over, and Roscoe is quitting politics after twenty-six years as chief brainstruster of Albany's notorious Democratic machine. The suave, brilliant, unscrupulous Falstaffian wants to hang up his white double-breasted Palm Beach suit and drift into retirement. But how will he relax his hold on the lid without the political pot boiling over, scalding his beloved and her family?Armed with the politician's most powerful credo - 'Righteousness doesn't stand a chance against the imagination' - Roscoe fights his final political battles. Every step forward leads Roscoe into the past - to the early loss of his true love, to his own particular heroics in World War I, the takeover of City Hall and the methodical assassination of the gangster Jack 'Legs' Diamond. ROSCOE is a comic masterpiece from one of America's most revered novelists.
Read online
  • 297
Quinn's Book

Quinn's Book

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

From the moment he rescues the beautiful, passionate Maud Fallon from the icy waters of the Hudson one wintry day in 1849, Daniel Quinn is thrust into a bewildering, adventure-filled journey through the tumult of nineteenth-century America. As he quests after the beguiling and elusive Maud, Daniel will witness the rise and fall of great dynasties in upstate New York, epochal prize fights, exotic life in the theatre, visitations from spirits beyond the grave, horrific battles between Irish immigrants and the "Know-Nothings," vicious New York draft riots, heroic passages through the Underground Railroad, and the bloody despair of the Civil War. Filled with Dickensian characters, a vivid sense of history, and a marvellously inventive humor, Quinn's Book is an engaging delight by an acclaimed modern master.
Read online
  • 279
Ironweed (1984 Pulitzer Prize)

Ironweed (1984 Pulitzer Prize)

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

SUMMARY:In Albany, New York, William Kennedy has made a crucible to test the American dream. His novels, which range from the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth, bubble and crack with the energy of immigrants trying to take the main chance in the land of opportunity. In 1938, Francis Phelan, a murderer, is reduced to flop-houses and hobo jungles. Returning to Albany at the end of the Depression, he roams the familiar streets with his hobo pal Helen, trying to make peace with the ghosts of the past and present.
Read online
  • 66
Riding the Yellow Trolley Car

Riding the Yellow Trolley Car

William Kennedy

Literature & Fiction

The collected nonfiction of the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Ironweed: "A great pleasure to read no matter what the subject" (Library Journal). When William Kennedy arrives in Barcelona, his guidebook recommends taking the trolley around town—but the trolleys haven't run in the city for years. He's on his way to interview the novelist Gabriel García Márquez when, out of the corner of his eye, he sees something impossible: a yellow trolley running down the street. Márquez, however, is not surprised; like all great writers of both fiction and nonfiction, he knows that impossible things happen every day. A remarkable collection from one of America's greatest authors, Riding the Yellow Trolley Car features work from all stages of Kennedy's career. Through each piece runs the thread that ties together his greatest works: a love and deep understanding of his hometown, the city of Albany, New York,...
Read online
  • 46