joseph's Reviews > An American Tragedy

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
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's review
Jun 23, 07

Read in June, 2004

not dreisers finest. the first third of the book is great, tragic, evocative. reminds me of 'rabbit run' or something, in the desperate search for beauty. clyde's life in new york is similarly full of details and interesting, but, knowing how this book ends, its really hard to get through the last half of it. i think the book peaks for me right before dreiser tries to bring us into clyde's mind as he slowly devises and accepts his plan for murder. it becomes too dark and drawn out for me. the last third of the book - detailing the court trial and his sentencing and his languishing behind death row, is a little too dry and all the emotive power is drained out of the book at that point. the lawyers just become stock figures, at that point the reader doesn't really want to relive the details of the murder, and by the end of the book we've kind of lost insight into clyde's mind. just sad sad sad.

it is good in the beginning however for 1920's slang like 'crickets! that' a good idea fellows'. but i don't really see how i could recommend an 800 page book about a murder to anyone.

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