"Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own."
These words of wisdom come from Nelson Algren's 1956 novel A Walk on the Wild Side, which details the hard-ass lives of pimps, drunks, whores and hoboes in Depression-era N'Awlins.
Like a rasslin' match between Jim Thompson and Jack Keroauc with William S. Burroughs in the ring as the referee, Walk... treats the reader to some extremely shady characters and criminals, serving them up with some nice moments of musicality and poetry, and revealing their humanity (or remnants thereof).
Algren's characters are well-developed, displaying layers of humor and humanity that contrast (or stand in doomed defiance against) the bleakness of their situations and surroundings, and his prose is rife with internal rhymes and rhythms, as well as moments of utter hilarity. Ostensibly a road novel, following Dove Linkhorn from home to N'Awlins to home... Of course, there's a bit more to it than that, but that's in the reading... There was a film adaptation as well, but the story is very different than the novel... (Why don't you post us a review, zwolf?)
Fuckin' recommended! (Algren also penned The Man with the Golden Arm, went to jail for five months and had a highly-publicized affair with Simone de Beauvoir back in the day, just so's ya knows...)