Cover image for An Albany trio : three novels from the Albany cycle
An Albany trio : three novels from the Albany cycle
Kennedy, William, 1928-
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Publication Information:
New York : Penguin Books, 1996.
Physical Description:
xii, 606 pages ; 20 cm
Legs -- Billy Phelan's greatest game -- Ironweed.
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"With Legs , Billy Phelan's Greatest Game , and . . . Ironweed , William Kennedy is making American literature."-- The Washington Post Book World

Legs inaugurated William Kennedy's celebrated cycle of novels set in Albany, New York. True to both life and myth. Legs evokes the flamboyant career of the legendary gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond, who was finally murdered in Albany, and his showgirl mistress as they blaze a trail across the tabloid pages of the 1920s and 1930s.

The second novel in the Albany cycle depicts Billy Phelan, a slightly tarnished poker player, pool hustler, and small-time bookie, as he moves through the lurid nighttime glare of a tough Depression-era town. Full of Irish pluck, he works the fringes of Albany sporting life with his own particular style--until he falls from underworld grace.

In the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Ironweed , Francis Phelan, ex-ballplayer, part-time gravedigger, and full-time drunk, has hit bottom. Years ago he left Albany after killing a scab during a workers' strike, and again after he accidentally--and fatally--dropped his infant son. Now, in 1938, Francis is back, roaming familiar streets and trying to make peace with ghosts of the past and present.

Author Notes

William Kennedy worked as a journalist on newspapers and magazines before he began a career as a novelist. Kennedy's novels, which are all centered around his home city of Albany, New York, include The Ink Truck, Legs, Billy Phelan's Greatest Game, Quinn's Book, Very Old Bones, and The Flaming Corsage. Kennedy's celebrated 1983 novel, Ironweed, has won great acclaim over the years, and has earned a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Critics Circle Award, and a PEN-Faulkner Award.

In addition to writing novels, Kennedy co-authored the screenplay for The Cotton Club with Francis Coppola in 1984 and wrote the screenplay for Ironweed in 1987. Kennedy and his son, Brendan, co-authored two children's books, Charlie Malarkey and the Belly Button Machine and Charlie Malarkey and the Singing Moose.

William Kennedy is the founder and director of the New York State Writers Institute, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a onetime editor of the San Juan Star and a former writing teacher at Cornell University. He is now a professor in the English department of the University at Albany.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Three early novels from Kennedy's Albany Cycle (Legs; Billy Phelan's Greatest Game and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ironweed) are published in one volume, in conjunction with the Cycle's sixth installment. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved