Books: How Writers Live

Nelson Algren, 45, wrote a successful novel five years ago called The Man with the Golden Arm, and now lives in a bungalow outside Chicago. While working on another book, Algren is living on a publisher's advance doled out to him at the rate of $100 a week. "Of the $400 a month," he explains, "my agent gets 40 bucks. I give my mother a hundred. So on $260 a month, I keep a house, a wife, a cat and a car. Don't underrate the cat.

It's my wife's, so it's got to have the...

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