An American Tragedy

  • by Theodore Dreiser
  • Narrated by Dan John Miller
  • 34 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An American Tragedy is the story of Clyde Griffiths, who spends his life in the desperate pursuit of success. On a deeper, more profound level, it is the masterful portrayal of the society whose values both shape Clyde's ambitions and seal his fate; it is an unsurpassed depiction of the harsh realities of American life and of the dark side of the American dream. Extraordinary in scope and power, vivid in its sense of wholesale human waste, unceasing in its rich compassion, An American Tragedy stands as Theodore Dreiser's supreme achievement.
First published in 1925 and based on an actual criminal case, An American Tragedy was the inspiration for the 1951 film A Place in the Sun, which won six Academy Awards and starred Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Funny in Perspective

I found this book funny on almost every page. Not ha-ha funny, but a mild warm sardonic funny. This is not a classic tragedy of fate directing the characters to untimely deaths, instead, through an unbiased narrator, we see nature simply take its course without morality or judgment or even meaning, towards untimely death. The narrator seems not to be God, but some neutral naturalistic viewer of all the characters and situations, and from this perspective everything, including death, may seem funny.

If you don’t see the very subtle humor in this novel early on, it will likely seem tediously long and slow, as the novel follows the main character’s developing motivations, beliefs, and actions as they slowly and inevitability, unfold. This powerful inevitability reminds me of Russia writers, as such inevitability is rare in American novels. As I saw the silliness of the character’s choices (which will certainly lead to unpleasant consequences) I felt compassion, yet I had to chuckle.

The characters are very well developed, even the very minor characters, yet I related more with the narrator than any of the characters, and the story was, of course, predictable. I was moved by this writing and think I will be affected by the undercurrents of this novel for quite some time to come.

The narration was flawless, using subtle tones of voice to reflect the subtle inconsistencies and indecision within the characters.
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- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."


What made the experience of listening to An American Tragedy the most enjoyable?

This book had me glued to my seat on the subway. I knew what was going to happen, but the transformation of the main character from an easygoing victim of circumstance to a reluctant murderer was fascinating.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was Roberta Alden whom I felt sorry for and who epitomized for me the tragedy of this book. Clyde Griffiths was too flawed a character for me to consider tragic.

Which character ??? as performed by Dan John Miller ??? was your favorite?

The narrator did a great job with Clyde and Roberta, but also was outstanding with the district attourney and Roberta's father. His voice is able to pinpoint the role of the character. I haven't even finished this book, but so far every character is portrayed with authenticity.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It is too big for one sitting, but whenever I had spare time, my mp3 player was on to this book.

Any additional comments?

By all means, buy the book from audible. Dreiser may have some shortcomings with his prose. He is not as elegant as Trollope, but the narrator brings it right to the emotions. My best books in audible are those that get me emotionally stirred whether joyfully or sadly. This is one of those books.

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- lanny kaufman

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-19-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio