Synopses & Reviews
First published in 1899, this graphic depiction of urban American life centers around McTeague, a dentist practicing in San Francisco at the turn of the century. While at first content with his life and friendship with an ambitious man named Marcus, McTeague eventually courts and marries Trina, a parsimonious young woman who wins a large sum of money in a lottery. The greed of the majority of the characters in the novel creates a chain of events that lead to many painful, gruesome deaths. Norris' work, so strikingly different from that of his contemporaries, is an admirable example of social realism, which provided America with a shocking reflection of its sordid sense of survival. From the opening description of San Francisco to McTeague's final desperate flight far from his 'Dental Parlors,' this novel examines human greed in a way that still causes readers to pause and reflect over one hundred years later.
Selected and Introduced by Jonathan Evison.
McTeague is the story of a poor dentist scraping by in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century. When his wife Trina wins $5,000 in the lottery, the pair set in motion a shocking chain of events. From the opening description of San Francisco to McTeague's final desperate flight far from his 'Dental Parlors,' this novel examines human greed in a way that still causes readers to pause and reflect over one hundred years later.
With a new introduction by New York Times Bestseller Jonathan Evison.
About the Author
Frank Norris (1870-1902) is the author of McTeague, The Octopus: A Story of California,
and The Pit: A Story of Chicago.
In addition to being a novelist, he also served as a journalist and was leader of the Naturalism movement during the Progressive era. Norris believed that a novel should serve a moral purpose. "The novel with a purpose," he explained, "brings the tragedies and griefs of others to notice" and "prove(s) that injustice, crime, and inequality do exist."
Jonathan Evison is the author of Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, West of Here, and All About Lulu. He is a recipent of the Washington State Book Award and the Richard Buckley Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. Editor Chuck Adams (Water for Elephants, A Reliable Wife, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers Homes in New England) called West of Here the best novel he's worked on in over four decades of publishing. In his teens, Evison was the founding member and frontman of the Seattle punk band March of Crimes, which included future members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Born in San Jose, California, he now lives on an island in Washington.