McTeague

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Courier Corporation, Mar 1, 2004 - Fiction - 303 pages
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.
 

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S-L-O-W start, tedious, I had to push myself to read through the entire book. The last 50 to 100 pages were good: there was action, suspense, and a bang-up ending. If rated on the last 50 pp, I'd give this book five stars. If rated on the first 100 pages, I give this book one star.

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Contents

Chapter I
1
Chapter II
10
Chapter III
24
Chapter IV
34
Chapter V
43
Chapter VI
60
Chapter VII
75
Chapter VIII
90
Chapter XIII
177
Chapter XIM
186
Chapter XV
195
Chapter XVI
208
Chapter XVII
221
Chapter XVIII
226
Chapter XIX
241
Chapter XX
259

Chapter IX
104
Chapter X
125
Chapter XI
146
Chapter XII
165
Chapter XXI
268
Chapter XXII
295
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About the author (2004)

Considered one of the leading pioneers in American naturalism, Frank Norris is read and studied for his vivid and honest depiction of life at the beginning of a lusty and developing new century. Born in Chicago, he moved to San Francisco with his well-to-do family when he was 14 and went on to attend the University of California and Harvard University before becoming a war correspondent in South Africa and Cuba. His early apprentice work consisted mostly of rather unremarkable adventure stories, but, with the long-gestating McTeague: A Story of San Francisco (1899), he struck a new note. That powerful study of avarice in a seedy section of the Bay Area may well be Norris's masterpiece. The Octopus (1901), the first of Norris's projected Epic of the Wheat series, deals with the raising of wheat in California and the struggle of ranchers against the railroads, while The Pit (1903) is a novel about speculation on the Chicago wheat exchange. Unfortunately, Norris died suddenly after an operation for appendicitis and did not write The Wolf, in which the wheat as a symbol of life-force was to feed a famine-stricken village in Europe. Vandover and the Brute (1914), the manuscript of which was lost during the San Francisco earthquake and rediscovered for publication in 1914, is an early work admired as representative of American naturalism. Like Stephen Crane, a writer with whom Norris is frequently compared, Norris died too young to fulfill his considerable promise, but he has more than held his own ground among turn-of-the-century writers whose works have lived. One reason may be that he took his craft as a writer seriously, as is shown by his posthumously published Responsibilities of the Novelist and Other Literary Essays (1903) and The Literary Criticism of Frank Norris, edited by Donald Pizer.

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