• by Frank Norris
  • Narrated by Wolfram Kandinsky
  • 14 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Few works have captured the seamy side of American urban life with such graphic immediacy as Frank Norris's McTeague. Heredity and environment play the role of fate in this portrayal of human degradation in turn-of-the-century San Francisco.McTeague, a strong but stupid dentist, marries Trina, introduced to him by her cousin Marcus Schouler. When Trina wins $5,000 in a lottery and increases the sum by shrewd investment, Schouler, who had wanted to marry Trina himself, feels cheated. In revenge, he exposes McTeague's lack of diploma or license.Forbidden to practice, McTeague becomes mean and surly, but the miserly Trina refuses to let him use her money, and they sink into poverty. What follows is a descent into the ultimate crime - murder - and life as a fugitive, in a tale that moves toward its harrowing conclusion with the grim power and inevitability of classic tragedy.


What the Critics Say

"Wolfram Kandinsky's razor-sharp narration leaves one eager to hear more of Norris's few but outstanding productions as a novelist." (Library Journal)
"The first great tragic portrait in America of an acquisitive society." (Alfred Kazin)
"The writing is easy and natural, the moral earnestness refreshing and the construction masterful." (Kenneth Rexroth)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Cavity of the Soul that had me by the Crown

The first part of this novel was slow. I was frustrated enough (almost) to just pull the bookmark out and walk away. But soon Norris had me by the crown. Look people, if you are going to only read one literary work on Mammon's folly, on the parsimonious middle-child of the Seven Deadly Sins, THIS should to be the one. It focuses on McTeague and his wife Trina, but several other characters play almost equally important roles in examining avarice's many, obsessive faces. There are scavengers, hoarders, manipulators, thieves, etc.

Inserted into the novel, however, is one of the most beautiful and sad love stories in literature. Miss Baker and Mister Grannis, two older boarders and neighbors of the McTeagues, live in adjoining rooms in a boarding house. Each room has the same wallpaper, suggesting that the rooms used to be just one room. Mister Grannis spends his nights binding periodicals while Miss Baker makes tea and rocks near their shared wall. Each, silently, spends the evening sharing their divided space. Barely separated, each is comforted by the others presence. It is beautiful, a modern Pyramus and Thisbē, and a nice counterweight to all the gold lust and penny pinching. I don't know if I would have been able to survive the hardcore, step-by-step, drop of the McTeagues and their ilk into Dante's fourth circle without the uplifting, kind, and selfless older couple that shoots one warm ray into this novel's cold, dead roots.
Read full review

- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

A Long-Awaited Audio Book

I first bought McTeague as a used book around 1980 because I had read that a great silent film that I had yet to see, Greed, was based on it. It took me a while to get around to reading it, but when I did it grabbed me from the first page to the last. The movie based on it is also great, by the way, which is especially surprising considering how severely cut it was by the studio. I had checked off and on all these years for an audio version of the book, so needless to say I was pleased to see that one had finally been recorded.

As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is very dark but frequently very funny. It added to the experience that I listened to most of it in San Francisco, which is where the novel takes place about ten years before the big earthquake of 1906. I was already somewhat familiar with the narrator, Wolfram Kandinsky, and always thought he was pretty good. At the beginning, I found myself wishing that a reader with a more spellbinding voice had been chosen for this book. However, that thought soon went away because Mr Kandinsky is an excellent actor. He's great with all the various characters and the variety of accents. He is also impressive at depicting emotion. Don't miss the wonderful scenery-chewing moment he gives Trina in the latter part of the book. You'll see what I mean when you get to it.
Read full review

- Steven Lambert "gentcallr"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-01-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.