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"What Life Is Like To a Homeless Man," The Victoria Daily Times

March 23, 1935, p. 2

THE THREADBARE man who shuffles along the pavement and confidentially inquires if you can spare a dime does not ordinarily have much to say about himself—which, for our complacence, is probably just as well.
But in “Waiting for Nothing.” By Tom Kromer, he speaks at last—and listening to him is like hearing a voice from the pit.
Mr. Kromer has been on the bum, as they say, for some time, and his book is a distillation of the homeless wanderer’s point of view. It is a dismaying and a horrifying document, written with vast skill.
What we see, as we read this book, is nothing less than human life reduced to its lowest level—a matter of eating and sleeping. Nothing else matters. Nothing else is even worth talking about.
Mr. Kromer’s “stiffs” endure rain and cold, rags and filth, humiliation and anger, and say nothing: a bowl of stew, a bed in an empty warehouse or a fetid flophouse—these are all that matter.
That is the most dreadful part about this book. It is so dispassionate. The point of view that Mr. Kromer present has gone beyond anger and hatred. He tells of dismal flophouses, of brutal cops, of petty insults, of tragic deaths, in an even monotone.
And he raises the question: Will these “stiffs” ever rise in revolt? No, he replies; a bum without food is too hungry to have the nerve for violence, and a bum who has been fed does not care.
It is a powerful and distressing book, published by Knopf.

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