Hemmingway called Chicago’s Nelson Algren the greatest American writer behind Faulkner. His love affair with Simone de Beauvoir is legendary. His depictions of the seedier side of urban life — and the tramps, hustlers, and addicts that inhabit that world — are both honest and tender.
So why is it that so many Chicagoans don’t know the man or his work? And why does he seem to be overlooked by the larger literary world? Morning Shift talks to Chicago Tribune reporter Mary Wisniewski about her new biography Algren: A Life .