Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

This edition of Upton Sinclair's classic work is part of Penguin's Deluxe Classics series, with great cover art by Charles Burns, whose illustrations really capture the sickness at the heart of the novel.

Speaking of which, I had never realized that this book was a novel until I started reading it. I had always thought it was a kind of journalistic expose of the conditions of the meatpacking industry--which I suppose it is, but told through the eyes of a fictional character, an immigrant and his family who travel to Chicago in hopes of building a life for themselves there, and instead are subjected to trickery, appalling living conditions, despair, and on.

A great and important book, but not a happy one.

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