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The overriding theme in Norris' fiction is the impact of industrialization on peaceful agricultural communities and the consequent chaos in the lives of people who lived in these communities. Written almost simultaneously with his great work, "McTeague", Norris began writing "Vandover and the Brute in Cambridge" and completed it after his return to San Francisco. The influence of the great Frenchman, Emil Zola is apparent throughout the book. It was always a matter of wonder to Vandover that he was able to recall so little of his past life. With the exception of the most recent events he could remember nothing connectedly. What he at first imagined to be the story of his life, on closer inspection turned out to be but a few disconnected incidents that his memory had preserved with the greatest capriciousness, absolutely independent of their importance. One of these incidents might be a great sorrow, a tragedy, a death in his family; and another, recalled with the same vividness, the same accuracy of detail, might be a matter of the least moment. Also see other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.