Set during the Depression in the depleted farmlands surrounding Augusta, Georgia, Tobacco Road is the story of the Lesters, a family of white sharecroppers so destitute that most of their creditors have given up on them. Debased by poverty to an elemental state of ignorance and selfishness, the Lesters are preoccupied by their hunger, sexual longings, and fear that they will one day descend to a lower rung on the social ladder than the black families who live near them.
Caldwell’s skillful use of dialect and his plain style make the book one of the best examples of literary naturalism in contemporary American fiction. The novel was adapted as a successful play in 1933.
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