Thursday, June 1, 2017

Working Man's Tragedy

"In Greek tragedy, they fall from great heights. In noir, they fall from the curb." -- Dennis Lehane.

Dennis Lehane, author of "Mystic River" and "Gone, Baby, Gone" knows something about tragedy, even it's not the Greek or Shakespearean variety.

Another writer who understands tragedy is K.C. Constantine, author of seventeen novels set in the fictional Pittsburgh coal mining town of Rocksburg. In this Rust Belt setting, life-shattering events happen not to kings or presidents or heroic figures, but to very ordinary people. The two most striking examples may be in Constantine's first novel, "The Rocksburg Railroad Murders," and 1982's "The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes." Troubling. Realistic. Unforgettable.

"Woyzeck," by Georg Buchner, has been called "the working man's tragedy."  A century and a half after Buchner, that's the kind of story Constantine tells.

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