Ordinary people?BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39275.398310.59 (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:161
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
America is the land of opportunity, and everyone there can reach the maximum of their potential: perhaps that is why so much of its literature is tragic.
There must be failures even—or perhaps especially—in the most open of societies, and failure in such a society is more deeply felt than in a society that itself is a failure.
Raymond Carver is the poet of American failure. His short stories are what he calls “a long line of low rent tragedies.” He was born into a blue collar world; his father, an alcoholic, died young. Carver himself became an alcoholic, until he joined Alcoholics Anonymous, but died aged 50 from lung cancer. …