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"...where the daytime pavement never gets a rest from the shuffle of feet..."
For two years now, Writers No One Reads
has been celebrating "forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers." Yesterday they asked Chicago writer, artist and former cabdriver Dmitry Samarov (whose first book Hack: Stories From a Chicago Cab
I've been meaning to read for a while now) for a recommendation, and he vouched
for Willard Motley, a formerly bestselling but now mostly forgotten Chicago novelist. Here's a fine bit from Motley's 1939 piece "Pavement Portraits"
Here is where the daytime pavement never gets a rest from the shuffle of feet. Where the night-time street lamps lean drunkenly and are an easy target for the youngsters’ rocks. Where garbage cans are pressed full and running over. Where the weary buildings kneel to the street and the cats fight their fights under the tall, knock-kneed legs of the pushcarts. This is the down-to-earth world, the bread and beans world, the tenement-bleak world of poverty and hunger. The world of skipped meals; of skimp pocketbooks; of nonexistent security — shadowed by the miserable little houses that Jane Addams knew. Maxwell and Newberry...
Sounds similar to Nelson Algren and Chicago: City on the Make
, though less historically-detached and more first-hand than Algren. Looks like I'll start hunting for Knock On Any Door
October 24, 2012 in Books, Chicago Observations | Permalink