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Views & Reviews Between the lines

Ordinary people?

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:161
  1. 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. …

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