An American Tragedy
There’s a story in the New York Times this morning about a celebration of sorts that is taking place this week on the anniversary of the death of Grace Brown at the hand of her boyfriend, Chester Gillette. He hit her over the head with a tennis racket and pushed her overboard to drown in Big Moose Lake in upstate New York.
The names have been changed, but this story will sound familiar to English majors and old movie lovers as the basis for Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 novel, An American Tragedy. A film adaptation called “A Place in the Sun” was made in 1951 with Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, and Montgomery Clift. (I’ve put it in my Netflix queue.)
Now of course I’m tempted to re-read the book, which gripped me one summer when I was in high school and wouldn’t let go for years.