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Sister Carrie, Unabridged

Dreiser, Theodore; Hebert, C. M. (Read by)

30,729 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0786181303 / ISBN 13: 9780786181308
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks, 1999
Used Condition: Very Good
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Sister Carrie, Unabridged

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Audio CD

Book Condition: Very Good

Edition: Reprint

About this title

Synopsis:

When small-town girl Carrie Meeber sets out for Chicago, she is equipped with nothing but a few dollars, a certain unspoiled beauty and charm, and a pitiful lack of preparation for the complex moral choices she will face. Adrift in an indifferent city, she struggles from the sweatshop to stage success and inspires an obsessive love in a married man twice her age--which threatens to destroy him. Dreiser transforms the conventional fallen-woman story into a genuinely original work of imaginative fiction. He hurls his impressionable eighteen-year-old heroine into the amoral world of the big city and reveals, with powerful insight, the driving forces of our culture: America's restless idealism, glamorous material seductions, and spiritual innocence. Many consider this the greatest novel on urban life ever written.

Review:

Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser's revolutionary first novel, was published in 1900--sort of. The story of Carrie Meeber, an 18-year-old country girl who moves to Chicago and becomes a kept woman, was strong stuff at the turn of the century, and what Dreiser's wary publisher released was a highly expurgated version. Times change, and we now have a restored "author's cut" of Sister Carrie that shows how truly ahead of his time Dreiser was. First and foremost, he has written an astute, nonmoralizing account of a woman and her limited options in late-19th-century America. That's impressive in and of itself, but Dreiser doesn't stop there. Digging deeply into the psychological underpinnings of his characters, he gives us people who are often strangers to themselves, drifting numbly until fate pushes them on a path they can later neither defend nor even remember choosing.

Dreiser's story unfolds in the measured cadences of an earlier era. This sometimes works brilliantly as we follow the choices, small and large, that lead some characters to doom and others to glory. On the other hand, the middle chapters--of which there are many--do drag somewhat, even when one appreciates Dreiser's intentions. If you can make it through the sagging midsection, however, you'll be rewarded by Sister Carrie's last 150 pages, which depict the harrowing downward spiral of one of the book's central characters. Here Dreiser portrays with brutal power how the wrong decision--or lack of decision--can lay waste to a life. --Rebecca Gleason

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