Inspired by an actual crime sensationalized in the San Francisco press at the turn of the century, this riveting tale of avarice, degeneration, and death chronicles the demise of an ignorant charlatan and his avaricious wife. A compelling, realistic view of human nature at its most basic level.
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.