When we gaze into the mirror of literature we are presented the opportunity to observe constructs that reveal through stories some truth about the nature of the world they reflect. Blue-collar literature brings to light the toils, sacrifices, and disappointments of the daily grind that become mundane and second-nature to so many in the working-class, while also revealing the innate value of the people and the labor they perform.
"Player Piano," by Kurt Vonnegut.
Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run completely by machines. Paul’s rebellion is vintage Vonnegut—wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality.
"True North," by Jim Harrison.
As David comes to adulthood - often guided and enlightened by the unforgettable, intractable, courageous women he loves - he realizes he must come to terms with his forefathers' rapacious destruction of the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, as well as the working people who made their wealth possible. In the course of thirty years of searching for the truth of what his family has done and trying to make amends, David looks closely at the root of his father's evil - and threatens to destroy himself.
"Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line," by Ben Hamper.
The man the Detroit Free Press calls "a blue collar Tom Wolfe" delivers a full-barreled blast of truth and gritty reality in Rivethead, a no-holds-barred journey through the belly of the American industrial beast.
"The Circle," by Dave Eggers.
What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.
"The Liar's Club: A Memoir," by Mary Karr.
Karr's comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger's—a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all.
"The Jungle," by Upton Sinclair.
Upton Sinclair's dramatic and deeply moving story exposed the brutal conditions in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the nineteenth century and brought into sharp moral focus the apalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American dream.
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