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An American Tragedy is a 1925 novel by Theodore Dreiser. Loosely based on an actual criminal case, it tells the story of a young man named Clyde Griffiths, from his teenage years working as a bellboy in a hotel to... well, let's just say it ends in tragedy.

I can't say that I heartily recommend the novel; it's pretty long, and Dreiser's writing is more like a brick than a brush-stroke. On the other hand, I made it through the entire thing intact, and I suppose I appreciate some of the things Dreiser did with it, so I would think that if you like early twentieth-century novels, this is one of them.

An American Tragedy was made into a movie called A Place in the Sun, starring a very young Elizabeth Taylor as Sondra Finchley.

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