This enduring novel of crime and retribution vividly reflects the social and moral values of New England in the 1840s.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's gripping psychological drama concerns the Pyncheon family, a dynasty founded on pious theft, who live for generations under a dead man's curse until their house is finally exorcised by love. Hawthorne, by birth and education, was instilled with the Puritan belief in America's limitless promise. Yet - in part because of blemishes on his own family history - he also saw the darker side of the young nation. Like his twentieth-century heirs William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hawthorne peered behind propriety's façade and exposed the true human condition.
"A large and generous production, pervaded with that vague hum, that indefinable echo, of the whole multitudinous life of man, which is the real sign of a great work of fiction."