Returning to his native Chicago after World War II, Nelson Algren found a city transformed. The flourishing industry, culture, and literature that had placed pre-war Chicago at centre stage in American life were entering a time of crisis. The middle class and economic opportunity were leaving the inner city, and black Southerners arriving in Chicago found themselves increasingly estranged from the nation's economic and cultural resources. For Algren, Chicago was becoming an October sort of city even in the spring, and as Carlo Rotella demonstrates, this metaphorical landscape of fall led Algren and others to forge a literary form that traced the American city's transformation. Narratives of decline, like the complementary narratives of black immigration and inner-city life written by Claude Brown and Gwendolyn Brooks, became building blocks of the post-industrial urban literature.