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Main Street

Ratings:
Length: 710 pages10 hours

Summary

First published in 1920, “Main Street” is a biting and satirical look at small town America. Set in the 1910s it follows the struggles of its heroine, Carol Milford, to adapt to small town life. Carol, a young and progressive librarian living in St Paul, Minnesota, falls in love with and marries Will Kennicott, a doctor who dreams of returning to the small town of his childhood. Carol agrees and they move to Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, a town modeled on Sinclair’s own hometown of Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Carol is disappointed by the town’s drab appearance and it’s provincial, small-minded inhabitants. Brimming with optimism and tenacity, she sets out to convince the town to modernize and embrace her progressive values. Her ideas are not received as she hoped and instead she is resisted at every turn and derided by her fellow townsfolk. For all its seeming bleakness, Carol is ever optimistic and refuses to give up or believe the fight isn’t worth fighting. “Main Street” exemplifies Lewis’ “vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters”, which was cited by the Nobel Prize for Literature committee when he was awarded the prize in 1930. This edition includes a biographical afterword.

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