Full title Legs

Author William Kennedy

Type of work Novel

Genre Fictional memoir

Language English

Time and place written 1975, United States

Date of first publication 1975

Publisher Penguin Books

Narrator Marcus Gorman

Point of view The narrator speaks in the third person, generally focusing on the perspective of Jack Diamond. Occasionally stories are narrated from the perspective of another character, sometimes in the first person.

Tone Serious; fond; penetrating; reminiscent

Tense Past

Setting (time) Late 1920s–1930s

Setting (place) Upstate New York, New York City, and, briefly, Europe

Protagonist Jack "Legs" Diamond

Major Conflict Jack struggles against the state, local, and federal police agencies, as well as against other mobsters

Rising Action Jack's trip to Europe to sell drugs; his refusal to return Jimmy Biondo's money

Climax Jack is shot in late 1930, while Kiki Roberts is in the shower

Falling action Jack's torture of Clem Streeter

Themes The appeal of villainy; the American Dream

Motifs Cats; Jack's rosary; canaries

Symbols Kiki's fudge; the machine gun; the all-seeing eye

Foreshadowing Alice's "Mormon" dream