They Shoot Horses, Don't They? by Horace McCoy

This novel is a bleak depiction of the desperation of the Great Depression, set in the world of a grueling dance marathon. The two main characters, a young man and a woman, meet and form a partnership in order to survive the cruel contest. As they endure physical and mental exhaustion, the woman convinces the man to help her commit suicide, leading to his arrest and conviction for murder. The title refers to the practice of shooting horses that are too injured or old to be useful, suggesting a bleak view of human value and life.

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