I borrowed “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser from the library. I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it either. The main character, Clyde, was very interesting, but so unbelievably mislead. There were so many times I could not understand his decision making skills. Is this something from the way he was raised? Was he truly demented? Or, was he always in the wrong place at the wrong time (doubtful). Although it was quite long and at times very dull. I would recommend it. It was worth the read.
Goodreads describes the book:
A tremendous bestseller when it was published in 1925, “An American Tragedy” is the culmination of Theodore Dreiser’s elementally powerful fictional art. Taking as his point of departure a notorious murder case of 1910, Dreiser immersed himself in the social background of the crime to produce a book that is both a remarkable work of reportage and a monumental study of character. Few novels have undertaken to track so relentlessly the process by which an ordinary young man becomes capable of committing a ruthless murder, and the further process by which social and political forces come into play after his arrest.
In Clyde Griffiths, the impoverished, restless offspring of a family of street preachers, Dreiser created an unforgettable portrait of a man whose circumstances and dreams of self-betterment conspire to pull him toward an act of unforgivable violence. Around Clyde, Dreiser builds an extraordinarily detailed fictional portrait of early twentieth-century America, its religious and sexual hypocrisies, its economic pressures, its political corruption. The sheer prophetic amplitude of his bitter truth-telling, in idiosyncratic prose of uncanny expressive power, continues to mark Dreiser as a crucially important American writer. “An American Tragedy,” the great achievement of his later years, is a work of mythic force, at once brutal and heartbreaking.
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