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Search - Ironweed

Author: William J. Kennedy
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 ...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780140070200
ISBN-10: 0140070206
Publication Date: 2/7/1984
Pages: 240
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 116 ratings
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Leigh avatar reviewed Ironweed on + 378 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
If you're looking for a real-life protagonist, this is your book. Phelan is a regular guy through and through, full of faults and foibles, stumbling every time a normal human would. For this, he's endearing. And frustrating. But throughout the book, you maintain a sense of hope that things will turn out alright for him. His story is worth the read.
reviewed Ironweed on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I thought this book was interesting and somewhat well-written. The premise of the story is about bums and picks up where Kennedy's novel, "Billy Phelan's Greatest Game" leaves off. The lead character, Irish-American Francis Phelan is back in the city that he grew up in, where his past actions leave him filled with guilt; this is his attempt to come to terms with his decisions and appease the spirits who stalk his waking moments. There are a bevy of disparate and desperate characters, including Helen, his "woman," and Annie, his ex-wife. Despite the copious praise for this book, I felt that it had more pathos than necessary. I was glad it was a short read, and while it had some worthwhile inspired thoughts, I am not sure if I would have picked it to be a Pulitzer prize winner.
wantonvolunteer avatar reviewed Ironweed on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Oh this one, the third in the series, made reading the first two totally worth it! I liked Francis Phelan in the second book, and not much else besides him. Happily, he's the main character this third book is based around. Frannie's life is a mess, he's a drunk and a bum and he hides from his past... until he confronts and makes peace with it. All the back story that was so missing in the second book (Billy Phelan's Greatest Game) is filled in here. Super satisfying.
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buzoman avatar reviewed Ironweed on
Well written and entertaining. read it on a flight from Charlotte to San Diego.
kimdep avatar reviewed Ironweed on + 39 more book reviews
This is a tough one. It's a pretty stark story with lots of dying. It starts out in a graveyard with the man's dead parents talking about him.. so it doesn't sneak up on you or anything. It is a really rich and impressive story- the man is smart & insightful- just trying to deal with the mistakes he's made in life.
reviewed Ironweed on + 76 more book reviews
a classic--won the pulitzer prize


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