Tom Kromer

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Tom Kromer (1906–1969) was an American writer known for his one novel, Waiting for Nothing, an account of vagrant or hobo life during the nineteen-thirties.

Waiting for Nothing[edit]

Dedicated "to Jolene, who turned off the gas," the work is a realistic account of life as a homeless man during the Great Depression. Straightforward, declarative sentences in the tough-guy argot of the time ("I admire that stiff. He has got the guts. He does not like parting with his dough") are characteristic of Kromer, as are spare descriptions of grim scenes ("When I look at these stiffs by the fire, I am looking at a graveyard. There is hardly room to move between the tombstones. . . . The epitaphs are chiseled in sunken shadows on their cheeks"). The settings include rescue missions, flop houses, abandoned buildings and the sidewalk outside a nice restaurant. In one chapter, the narrator slowly comes to realize that the pitch-black boxcar he is riding in contains another rider, who is quietly, slowly, stalking him.

Waiting for Nothing was first published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1935, reissued by Hill & Wang in 1968, and, in a definitive edition edited by Arthur D. Casciato and James L.W. West III, reprinted as Waiting for Nothing and Other Writings by the University of Georgia Press in 1986.


Kromer's literary agent was Maxim Lieber.[1]


  1. ^ Kromer, Tom (1935 (1986)). Waiting for Nothing and Other Writings. Knopf (University of Georgia Press). p. 268. Retrieved 4 August 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)