McTeague A story of San Francisco Author:Frank Norris "I never truckled. I never took off the hat to Fashion and held it out for pennies. I told them the truth. They liked it or they didn't like it. What had that to do with me? I told them the truth," declared Frank Norris, shortly before his death at the age of thirty-two. Of his novels, none shocked his reading public more than McTeague, and few ... more »works since have captured the seamy side of American urban life with such graphic immediacy as does this portrayal of human degradation in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. Its protagonists-men and women alike-are shown as both products and victims of a debasing social order. Heredity and environment play the role of fate in a tale that moves toward its harrowing conclusion with the grim power and inevitability of Classic tragedy. Unsparing in its objectivity, McTeague has been termed by Alfred Kazin "the first great tragic portrait in America of an acquisitive socity." Kenneth Rexroth comments, "...the writing is easy and natural, the moral earnestness refreshing, and the construction masterful."