Classic Picks for November #1

13 Sep

Every other month a few booklovers gather together at Nomad Books to discuss a classic piece of writing, from 11th century Japanese non-fiction to weighty Russian tomes, from modern classics to old gems, and from books about cowboys to aliens. And every other month we choose a new book to read for next time. A group of books – loosely connected by some theme or common characteristic – are selected and presented to the gang and one book is chosen from amongst them. So here is the synopsis of the first of the three, Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, taken from an old edition of 1001 Books to Read Before you Die:

‘Sister Carrie is a gripping and grim novel which charts the fortunes of three main characters making their way at the turn of the nineteenth century. Carrie Meeber moves from the Midwest to Chicago to live with relatives who feel obliged to take her in. She takes a menial job and then moves in with the raffish salesman, Charles Drouet. However, she soon tires of him and attaches herself to the more socially elevated George Hurstwood. He leaves his wife and family for her, steals a large sum of money form his employers, and they run off to New York. There, Carrie rises while George falls. She becomes a celebrated actress and dancer , while he lapses into poverty after she leaves him.

Dreiser’s novel is a landmark in American fiction which helped to establish a distinctly American literary identity. Sister Carrie is significant for a number of reasons. Dreiser’s sparse, journalistic style depicts the realities of everyday city life in a language that seems to hide nothing so that we feel we see the characters as they really are.’

The book was also made into  a 1952 film starring Lawrence Olivier. Book choice number two coming soon…




One Response to “Classic Picks for November #1”

  1. Todd Ehlers 25/10/2012 at 11:34 pm #

    Sister Carrie…sigh! My first Theodore Dreiser book. Thereafter he has become my favorite novelist of all time. Highly recommended. Modern feminism was born or, at the least, recognized and baptized, no matter how its contemporaries regarded it, when Sister Carrie began its existence on the American cultural landscape.

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