Dark and gritty. A work of transition.,
This review is from: Never Come Morning (Paperback)
Bruno Bicek and Steffi R. have dreams beyond the reality of their Chicago existence and the nightmarish control of the Barber, Bonifacy Konstantine. Bruno Bicek is a boxing contender and Steffi R. is the girlfriend he let be gang-raped. The Barber knows this and that Bruno Bicek has murdered one of the gang. The Barber has Steffi R. in his grasp and has no intention of letting her go. Bruno Bicek feels sure of his chances and intends taking her from him. But the Barber holds all the cards and, for Bruno Bicek and Steffi R. there will be no bright morning.
Never Come Morning has its moments: the fight scenes at the start and end of the book; the scenes in which the characters consider their lives, in a style that will be made much use of in The Man with the Golden Arm. Everything else is dark and gritty, but is not especially effective within the story because of its apparent inclusion for the sake of something anecdotal in order to flesh out the characters' traits and thoughts. In addition, Nelson Algren makes reading this book a chore like he did with The Man with the Golden Arm, by having rapid changes of viewpoint in scenes with a multiplicity of characters. This would have been quite benign given a more omniscient writing style like Fritz Leiber's, but is very distracting here.
Nevertheless, Never Come Morning is engaging, and, taken in overview, is a very satisfactory read, which demonstrates the power in Nelson Algren's writing. A power that in subsequent works, grows and grows.