An American Tragedy is the story of Clyde Griffiths, who spends his life in the desperate pursuit of success. On a deeper, more profound level, it is the masterful portrayal of the society whose values both shape Clyde's ambitions and seal his fate; it is an unsurpassed depiction of the harsh realities of American life and of the dark side of the American dream. Extraordinary in scope and power, vivid in its sense of wholesale human waste, unceasing in its rich compassion, An American Tragedy stands as Theodore Dreiser's supreme achievement.
First published in 1925 and based on an actual criminal case, An American Tragedy was the inspiration for the 1951 film A Place in the Sun, which won six Academy Awards and starred Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.
©1925 Theodore Dreiser (P)2011 Tantor
Though most of the factory girls who make our clothes are now overseas, Dreiser's themes of social inequality, evangelical Christianity, the death penalty, and access to birth control and abortion are disquietingly familiar today. Dreiser (who partied with anarchist Emma Goldman) is sensitive and unsparing in his exploration of these issues. Protagonist Clyde Griffiths would probably make the list of "fifty boyfriends worse than yours," but narrator Dan John Miller gives him the necessary charm to make his story credible. The book drags a bit near the end, but is memorable overall.
I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry. I also love to listen to the same whilst not paying attention to other things. I aim for my reviews to be short and succinct so that they are easy to read.
Lovers of DH Lawrence may enjoy this book. I however, found it to be just insufferable. I am not sure if it is the narrator but I think it is the story. For instance a woman tries to get our hero to buy her a fur coat with the promise of “favours”. This takes approximately an hour to reach it’s conclusion. A description of a factory in which our hero will work takes approximately half an hour to describe. If this added to the story, giving the reader/listener a sense of time or place I could forgive it. But it doesn’t. This book is so boring it “could put fish to sleep”.
I would listen to this book again. I really enjoyed the story. I particularly appreciate the fact that Dreiser had the courage to have an anti-hero play the main character in the story. The plot completely surprised me.
I enjoy listening to stories that completly catch me off guard, especially when they are realistic. This book in particular achieved this.
Miller is a good narrator. His reading fit the story.
I listen to books at work on a daily basis - I would look forward to listening to this book so I could find out what would happen next. There were many lines in the book that made me laugh out loud.
An american Tragedy and Sister Carrie (also by Dreiser) are excellent books. I will listen to other books by Theodore Dreiser
Business Physicist and Astronomer
Great story, perfectly delivered. Add to your top 100 list of all-time great pieces of literature.
I highly recommend this book.
This book had me glued to my seat on the subway. I knew what was going to happen, but the transformation of the main character from an easygoing victim of circumstance to a reluctant murderer was fascinating.
My favorite character was Roberta Alden whom I felt sorry for and who epitomized for me the tragedy of this book. Clyde Griffiths was too flawed a character for me to consider tragic.
The narrator did a great job with Clyde and Roberta, but also was outstanding with the district attourney and Roberta's father. His voice is able to pinpoint the role of the character. I haven't even finished this book, but so far every character is portrayed with authenticity.
It is too big for one sitting, but whenever I had spare time, my mp3 player was on to this book.
By all means, buy the book from audible. Dreiser may have some shortcomings with his prose. He is not as elegant as Trollope, but the narrator brings it right to the emotions. My best books in audible are those that get me emotionally stirred whether joyfully or sadly. This is one of those books.
I'm open to any book as long as it is true to itself.
This book is exceptionally long. I was daunted by the length, but found it utterly compelling. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The minutiae of the writing reveals much about the historical period. This is very different from the movie adaptation "A Place in the Sun" which softens the story. The author does not tell you how to feel about the characters and the events, leaving you to make up your own mind. This is emotionally moving and an excellent story. Narration is also excellent.
Clyde Griffiths, an ambitious social climber with grave personal flaw, fell in and out of love with an adoring factory girl, but has to abandon his moral anchor when the opportunity of fortune and status avail itself in the affection of an upper-class dame. Affectingly developed characters, biographical realism and a simple, linear yet encompassing plot line lend this fiction its masterpiece mantle.
Dan John Miller gave a titillating narrating performance.
Couldn't get past the first dozen chapters. The narration is really good, but the story is slow and the writing is monotonous. Bleech. Not my cup of tea.
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
You really get inside the characters heads. You know what they are thinking, feeling and planning.
The ambitious but immature Clyde Griffiths infatuation for Hortense Briggs is the start of his downfall. I could relate to his situation when this happen and it really 'rang a bell' for me.
Easy to read, a pleasure to listen to, the writing stands out as exemplars of pathos in modern literature. This book should be studied for students of literature for many years.
Fictional characters in narrative
A long story about a man who didn't develop a character.
I found it well-written and well-spoken, sympathetic.
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