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|Publisher||Viking Press, NY|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3561.E428 I7 1983|
|Preceded by||Billy Phelan's Greatest Game|
|Followed by||Quinn's Book|
Ironweed is a 1983 novel by William Kennedy. It received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is the third book in Kennedy's Albany Cycle. It is included in the Western Canon of the critic Harold Bloom.
Ironweed is set during the Great Depression and tells the story of Francis Phelan, a bum originally from Albany, New York, who left his family after accidentally killing his infant son. The novel focuses on Francis's return (after being gone twenty-two years) to Albany over the triduum of All Hallows Eve, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day; moreover, a surreal element is added to the narrative as Phelan sees and tries to interact with dead people from his troubled past. The novel features characters that are present in some of Kennedy's other Albany Cycle books.
Kennedy wrote the screenplay for the 1987 film version directed by Héctor Babenco and starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. Major portions of the film were shot on location in Albany. The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (for Nicholson) and Best Actress in a Leading Role (for Streep).
In 1986, Audio Partners produced an audiobook version of Ironweed, read by Jason Robards.