Ironweed by William Kennedy
1984 Pulitzer Prize
Francis Phelan has blood on his hands. He killed a scab during a strike. Then he accidentally dropped his infant son and killed him. Then while living the hoboes life, he kills another bum in self-defense. Now he has returned to Albany with his girl-friend Helen, who is an alcholic as is he. He's trying to come to terms with his past. Helen is trying to self-destruct.
Ironweed is set in the back alleys and two bit dives that most people never see. It's about the way life can conquer some people before they even get started.