Summary

This tale, set during the Depression, tells about Francis Phelan and other inhabitants of skid row in Albany, New York.


Ironweed, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is the best-known ofWilliam Kennedy's three Albany-based novels. 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 pal, Helen, trying to make peace with the ghosts of the past and the present...