This text provides an introduction to students and others interested in William Kennedy's work. It provides an analysis of Kennedy's best-known works, a firm base for interpretation, and a better understanding of the cultural world that shapes the characters and plots. Rather than laying down what one should see when reading Kennedy's works, the text moves to the next stage of exploring diverse responses to Kennedy's canon, broadening the reader's awareness of the range of alternative strategies and perspective. It begins with an introduction that lays out the imaginative context for Kennedy's work. Subsequent chapters, in three parts, provide extended treatments of his early work, key elements in the first three Albany novels, and finally the maturity of his overall fiction.