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As the trilogy opens in 1916 Chicago, young Studs Lonigan is a horny lazy 15 year old anti-Semite racist punk.  Over the course of this and the succeeding volumes, we watch him brawl, drink, smoke & carouse his way to an early grave.  Yeah?  Whooptyflip.  It's supposed to be about how hard it is to be an American Irish Catholic; a point that might have had greater weight had not a young man of Stud's generation been rising towards the Presidency even as Farrell whined.

Start with an author in the thrall of Dreiser and Anderson, add in the influence of both Proust and Joyce, and you have one of the least interesting, most technically annoying books on the list.  Plus, I couldn't find a cheap copy--strike three.


Grade: (D)


James Farrell Links:

    -REVIEW ESSAY: Rereading what might have been, but wasn't, the Great American Novel: STUDS LONIGAN: A TRILOGY: Young Lonigan, The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, Judgment Day By James T. Farrell (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW: of An Honest Writer: The Life and Times of James T. Farrell, Robert K. Landers (Ralph de Toledano, American Conservative)

Book-related and General Links:
    -REVOLUTIONARY NOVELIST IN CRISIS (From The New York Intellectuals, by Alan M. Wald. pp. 249-263)

For a much more enjoyable reading experience, set in the same milieu try:

Powers, John
    -The Last Catholic in America : A Fictionalized Memoir