Set in San Francisco's Tenderloin in 1899, McTeague concerns a simple dentist, his miserly wife, and the deterioration of friendship! This is the only soap opera you need: backstabbing, recklessness, and a duel in Death Valley! This novel still packs a punch and gives a chill today.
– Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
The novelist Frank Norris is almost forgotten today, but in books like "McTeague," published in 1899, he paved the way for a whole generation of American writers--a generation that included Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis and, less directly, Hemingway and Fitzgerald. McTeague is a dentist saddled with a grasping wife, and the book chronicles his rise and fall in awkward but powerful prose. This type of social realism, so contrary to the uplifting entertainment of the day (and to Mark Twain's more fanciful, comic novels), provided turn-of-the-century America a disturbing mirror in which to view itself.