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From Ragtime and Billy Bathgate to World's Fair, The March, and Homer & Langley, the fiction of E. L. Doctorow comprises a towering achievement in modern American letters. Now Doctorow returns with an enthralling collection of brilliant, startling short fiction about people who, as the author notes in his Preface, are somehow "distinct from their surroundings--people in some sort of contest with the prevailing world". A man at the end of an ordinary workday, extracts himself from his upper-middle-class life and turns to foraging in the same affluent suburb where he once lived with his family. A college graduate takes a dishwasher's job on a whim, and becomes entangled in a criminal enterprise after agreeing to marry a beautiful immigrant for money. A husband and wife's tense relationship is exacerbated when a stranger enters their home and claims to have grown up there. An urbanite out on his morning run suspects that the city in which he's lived all his life has transmogrified into another city altogether. These are among the wide-ranging creations in this stunning collection, resonant with the mystery, tension, and moral investigation that distinguish the fiction of E. L. Doctorow. Containing six unforgettable stories that have never appeared in book form, and a selection of previous Doctorow classics, All the Time in the World affords us another opportunity to savor the genius of this American master.From the Hardcover edition.
This brilliant new novel by an American master, the author of Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, Billy Bathgate, and The March, takes us on a radical trip into the mind of a man who, more than once in his life, has been the inadvertent agent of disaster. Speaking from an unknown place and to an unknown interlocutor, Andrew is thinking, Andrew is talking, Andrew is telling the story of his life, his loves, and the tragedies that have led him to this place and point in time. And as he confesses, peeling back the layers of his strange story, we are led to question what we know about truth and memory, brain and mind, personality and fate, about one another and ourselves. Written with psychological depth and great lyrical precision, this suspenseful and groundbreaking novel delivers a voice for our times--funny, probing, skeptical, mischievous, profound. Andrew's Brain is a surprising turn and a singular achievement in the canon of a writer whose prose has the power to create its own landscape, and whose great topic, in the words of Don DeLillo, is "the reach of American possibility, in which plain lives take on the cadences of history."Praise for Andrew's Brain "Andrew's Brain is cunning. . . . [A] sly book . . . This babbling Andrew is a casualty of his times, binding his wounds with thick wrappings of words, ideas, bits of story, whatever his spinning mind can unspool for him. . . . One of the things that makes [Andrew] such a terrific comic creation is that he's both maddeningly self-delusive and scarily self-aware: He's a fool, but he's no innocent. . . . Andrew may not be able to enjoy his brain, but Doctorow, freely choosing to inhabit this character's whirligig consciousness, can."--The New York Times Book Review "[An] evocative, suspenseful novel about the deceptive nature of human consciousness."--More "In stunning command of every aspect of this taut, unnerving, riddling tale, virtuoso Doctorow confronts the persistent mysteries of the mind--trauma and memory, denial and culpability--as he brings us back to one deeply scarring time of shock and lies, war and crime. Writing in concert with Twain, Poe, and Kafka, Doctorow distills his mastery of language, droll humor, well-primed imagination, and political outrage into an exquisitely disturbing, morally complex, tragic, yet darkly funny novel of the collective American unconscious and human nature in all its perplexing contrariness. Word will travel quickly about this intense and provocative novel by best-selling literary giant Doctorow."--Booklist (starred review) "Through this dialectic narrative, Doctorow connects to the common theme seen throughout his work: one's history is often a battle between memory and self-struggle to maintain an image of morality and adequacy. Doctorow deftly captures the complex but beautiful vagaries of life in clean, simple language."--Library Journal (starred review)From the Hardcover edition.
Despite increasing competition, this annual collection remains the place to find the most compelling short fiction published in the U.S. and Canada. To usher in the new millennium, THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2000 brims with a rich variety of lyrical and wise stories about our country's past, present, and future. This year"s editor, the best-selling author E. L. Doctorow, has chosen new works by Raymond Carver, Amy Bloom, Ha Jin, Walter Mosley, and Jhumpa Lahiri, among others.
To open this book is to enter the perilous, thrilling world of Billy Bathgate, the brazen boy who is accepted into the inner circle of the notorious Dutch Schultz gang. Like an urban Tom Sawyer, Billy takes us along on his fateful adventures as he becomes good-luck charm, apprentice, and finally protégé to one of the great murdering gangsters of the Depression-era underworld in New York City. The luminous transformation of fact into fiction that is E. L. Doctorow's trademark comes to triumphant fruition in Billy Bathgate, a peerless coming-of-age tale and one of Doctorow's boldest and most beloved bestsellers.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The central figure of this novel is a young man whose parents were executed for conspiring to steal atomic secrets for Russia.His name is Daniel Isaacson, and as the story opens, his parents have been dead for many years. He has had a long time to adjust to their deaths. He has not adjusted. Out of the shambles of his childhood, he has constructed a new life--marriage to an adoring girl who gives him a son of his own, and a career in scholarship. It is a life that enrages him.In the silence of the library at Columbia University, where he is supposedly writing a Ph.D. dissertation, Daniel composes something quite different.It is a confession of his most intimate relationships--with his wife, his foster parents, and his kid sister Susan, whose own radicalism so reproaches him. It is a book of memories: riding a bus with his parents to the ill-fated Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill; watching the FBI take his father away; appearing with Susan at rallies protesting their parents' innocence; visiting his mother and father in the Death House.It is a book of investigation: transcribing Daniel's interviews with people who knew his parents, or who knew about them; and logging his strange researches and discoveries in the library stacks.It is a book of judgments of everyone involved in the case--lawyers, police, informers, friends, and the Isaacson family itself.It is a book rich in characters, from elderly grand- mothers of immigrant culture, to covert radicals of the McCarthy era, to hippie marchers on the Pen-tagon. It is a book that spans the quarter-century of American life since World War II. It is a book about the nature of Left politics in this country--its sacrificial rites, its peculiar cruelties, its humility, its bitterness. It is a book about some of the beautiful and terrible feelings of childhood. It is about the nature of guilt and innocence, and about the relations of people to nations. It is The Book of Daniel.From the Hardcover edition.
In his workbook, a New York City novelist records the contents of his teeming brain--sketches for stories, accounts of his love affairs, riffs on the meanings of popular songs, ideas for movies, obsessions with cosmic processes. He is a virtual repository of the predominant ideas and historical disasters of the age. But now he has found a story he thinks may be-come his next novel: The large brass cross that hung behind the altar of St. Timothy's, a run-down Episcopal church in lower Manhattan, has disappeared...and even more mysteriously reappeared on the roof of the Synagogue for Evolutionary Judaism, on the Upper West Side. The church's maverick rector and the young woman rabbi who leads the synagogue are trying to learn who committed this strange double act of desecration and why. Befriending them, the novelist finds that their struggles with their respective traditions are relevant to the case. Into his workbook go his taped interviews, insights, preliminary drafts...and as he joins the clerics in pursuit of the mystery, it broadens to implicate a large cast of vividly drawn characters--including scientists, war veterans, prelates, Holocaust survivors, cabinet members, theologians, New York Times reporters, filmmakers, and crooners--in what proves to be a quest for an authentic spirituality at the end of this tortured century.Daringly poised at the junction of the sacred and the profane, and filled with the sights and sounds of New York, this dazzlingly inventive masterwork emerges as the American novel readers have been thirsting for: a defining document of our times, a narrative of the twentieth century written for the twenty-first.
E. L. Doctorow is acclaimed internationally for such novels as Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, and The March. Now here are Doctorow's rich, revelatory essays on the nature of imaginative thought. In Creationists, Doctorow considers creativity in its many forms: from the literary (Melville and Mark Twain) to the comic (Harpo Marx) to the cosmic (Genesis and Einstein). As he wrestles with the subjects that have teased and fired his own imagination, Doctorow affirms the idea that "we know by what we create."Just what is Melville doing in Moby-Dick? And how did The Adventures of Tom Sawyer impel Mark Twain to radically rewrite what we know as Huckleberry Finn? Can we ever trust what novelists say about their own work? How could Franz Kafka have written a book called Amerika without ever leaving Europe? In posing such questions, Doctorow grapples with literary creation not as a critic or as a scholar-but as one working writer frankly contemplating the work of another. It's a perspective that affords him both protean grace and profound insight. Among the essays collected here are Doctorow's musings on the very different Spanish Civil War novels of Ernest Hemingway and André Malraux; a candid assessment of Edgar Allan Poe as our "greatest bad writer"; a bracing analysis of the story of Genesis in which God figures as the most complex and riveting character. Whether he is considering how Harpo Marx opened our eyes to surrealism, the haunting photos with which the late German writer W. G. Sebald illustrated his texts, or the innovations of such literary icons as Heinrich von Kleist, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Sinclair Lewis, Doctorow is unfailingly generous, shrewd, attentive, surprising, and precise.In examining the creative works of different times and disciplines, Doctorow also reveals the source and nature of his own artistry. Rich in aphorism and anecdote, steeped in history and psychology, informed by a lifetime of reading and writing, Creationists opens a magnificent window into one of the great creative minds of our time.From the Hardcover edition.
The long-unavailable work by one of America's most eminent writers.
Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers--the one blind and deeply intuitive, the other damaged into madness, or perhaps greatness, by mustard gas in the Great War. They live as recluses in their once grand Fifth Avenue mansion, scavenging the city streets for things they think they can use, hoarding the daily newspapers as research for Langley's proposed dateless newspaper whose reportage will be as prophecy. Yet the epic events of the century play out in the lives of the two brothers--wars, political movements, technological advances--and even though they want nothing more than to shut out the world, history seems to pass through their cluttered house in the persons of immigrants, prostitutes, society women, government agents, gangsters, jazz musicians . . . and their housebound lives are fraught with odyssean peril as they struggle to survive and create meaning for themselves.
The bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ragtime and Billy Bathgate has compiled his first collection of essays, a richly textured and detailed combination of literary criticism, political invective, and historical meditation.
Innocence is lost to unforgettable experience in these brilliant stories by E. L. Doctorow, as full of mystery and meaning as any of the longer works by this American master. In "The Writer in the Family," a young man learns the difference between lying and literature after he is induced into deceiving a relative through letters. In "Wili," an early-twentieth-century idyll is destroyed by infidelity. In "The Foreign Legation," a girl and an act of political anarchy collide with devastating results. These and other stories flow into the novella "Lives of the Poets," in which the images and themes of the earlier stories become part of the narrator's unsparing confessions about his own mind, offering a rare look at the creative process and its connection to the heart. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The hero of this dazzling novel by American master E. L. Doctorow is Joe, a young man on the run in the depths of the Great Depression. A late-summer night finds him alone and shivering beside a railroad track in the Adirondack mountains when a private railcar passes. Brightly lit windows reveal well-dressed men at a table and, in another compartment, a beautiful girl holding up a white dress before her naked form. Joe will follow the track to the mysterious estate at Loon Lake, where he finds the girl along with a tycoon, an aviatrix, a drunken poet, and a covey of gangsters. Here Joe's fate will play out in this powerful story of ambition, aggression, and identity. Loon Lake is another stunning achievement of this acclaimed author."Powerful . . . [a] complex and haunting meditation on modern American history."-The New York Times"A genuine thriller . . . a marvelous exploration of the complexities and contradictions of the American dream . . . Not under any circumstances would we reveal the truly shattering climax."-The Dallas Morning News"A dazzling performance . . . [Loon Lake] anatomizes America with insight, passion, and inventiveness."-The Washington Post Book World"Hypnotic . . . tantalizes long after it has ended."-Time"Compelling . . . brilliantly done."-St. Louis Post-Dispatch"A masterpiece."-Chicago Sun-TimesFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
In 1864, after Union general William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta, he marched his sixty thousand troops east through Georgia to the sea, and then up into the Carolinas. The army fought off Confederate forces and lived off the land, pillaging the Southern plantations, taking cattle and crops for their own, demolishing cities, and accumulating a borne-along population of freed blacks and white refugees until all that remained was the dangerous transient life of the uprooted, the dispossessed, and the triumphant. Only a master novelist could so powerfully and compassionately render the lives of those who marched. The author of Ragtime, City of God, and The Book of Daniel has given us a magisterial work with an enormous cast of unforgettable characters - white and black, men, women, and children, unionists and rebels, generals and privates, freed slaves and slave owners. At the center is General Sherman himself; a beautiful freed slave girl named Pearl; a Union regimental surgeon, Colonel Sartorius; Emily Thompson, the dispossessed daughter of a Southern judge; and Arly and Will, two misfit soldiers. Almost hypnotic in its narrative drive, The March stunningly renders the countless lives swept up in the violence of a country at war with itself. The great march in E. L. Doctorow's hands becomes something more - a floating world, a nomadic consciousness, and an unforgettable reading experience with awesome relevance to our own times.
Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War.The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family and other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler and a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch-bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.From the Trade Paperback edition.
E. L. Doctorow has been hailed as "a writer of dazzling gifts and boundless imaginative energy" (Joyce Carol Oates, The New Yorker), "a virtuosic storyteller with enormous range" (People), and "a national treasure" (George Saunders). He has achieved a distinguished standing in American letters with his profound fiction, novels of great inventive power. The three bestsellers in this eBook bundle are classic Doctorow. From the defining moments of the Civil War to the heady days of the young twentieth century, the subjects and themes herein span, in the words of Don DeLillo, "the reach of American possibility, in which plain lives take on the cadences of history." RAGTIME "An extraordinarily deft, lyrical, rich novel that catches the spirit of the country . . . in a fluid musical way that is as original as it is satisfying."--The New Yorker One lazy Sunday afternoon in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside the home of an affluent American family. Almost magically, the line between fact and fiction, between real and invented characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's brilliant fictional creations, including an immigrant Jewish peddler and a ragtime pianist from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice brings this shimmering masterpiece to a shocking climax. THE MARCH "Spellbinding . . . a ferocious re-imagining of the past that returns it to us as something powerful and strange."--Time In 1864, Union general William Tecumseh Sherman marched his sixty thousand troops through Georgia to the sea, and then up into the Carolinas. The army fought off Confederate forces, demolished cities, and accumulated a borne-along population of freed blacks and white refugees until all that remained was the dangerous transient life of the dispossessed and the triumphant. In Doctorow's hands the great march becomes a floating world, a nomadic consciousness, and an unforgettable reading experience with awesome relevance to our own times. HOMER & LANGLEY "Beautiful and haunting . . . one of literature's most unlikely picaresques, a road novel in which the rogue heroes can't seem to leave home."--The Boston Globe Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers--the one blind and deeply intuitive, the other damaged into madness by mustard gas in the Great War. They live as recluses in their once grand Fifth Avenue mansion, hoarding the daily newspapers as research for Langley's proposed dateless newspaper whose reportage will be as prophecy. Even though they want nothing more than to shut out the world, history seems to pass through their cluttered house in the persons of immigrants, prostitutes, society women, government agents, gangsters, jazz musicians . . . and their housebound lives are fraught with odyssean peril as they struggle to survive and create meaning for themselves.
One of America's premier writers, the bestselling author of Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, The Book of Daniel, and World's Fair turns his astonishing narrative powers to the short story in five dazzling explorations of who we are as a people and how we live. Ranging over the American continent from Alaska to Washington, D.C., these superb short works are crafted with all the weight and resonance of the novels for which E. L. Doctorow is famous. You will find yourself set down in a mysterious redbrick townhouse in rural Illinois ("A House on the Plains"), working things out with a baby-kidnapping couple in California ("Baby Wilson"), living on a religious-cult commune in Kansas ("Walter John Harmon"), and sharing the heartrending cross-country journey of a young woman navigating her way through three bad marriages to a kind of bruised but resolute independence ("Jolene: A Life"). And in the stunning "Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden," you will witness a special agent of the FBI finding himself at a personal crossroads while investigating a grave breach of White House security. Two of these stories have already won awards as the best fiction of the year published in American periodicals, and two have been chosen for annual best-story anthologies. Composed in a variety of moods and voices, these remarkable portrayals of the American spiritual landscape show a modern master at the height of his powers.
"An elegant page-turner of nineteenth-century detective fiction."-The Washington Post Book WorldOne rainy morning in 1871 in lower Manhattan, Martin Pemberton a freelance writer, sees in a passing stagecoach several elderly men, one of whom he recognizes as his supposedly dead and buried father. While trying to unravel the mystery, Pemberton disappears, sending McIlvaine, his employer, the editor of an evening paper, in pursuit of the truth behind his freelancer's fate. Layer by layer, McIlvaine reveals a modern metropolis surging with primordial urges and sins, where the Tweed Ring operates the city for its own profit and a conspicuously self-satisfied nouveau-riche ignores the poverty and squalor that surrounds them. In E. L. Doctorow's skilled hands, The Waterworks becomes, in the words of The New York Times, "a dark moral tale . . . an eloquently troubling evocation of our past.""Startling and spellbinding . . . The waters that lave the narrative all run to the great confluence, where the deepest issues of life and death are borne along on the swift, sure vessel of [Doctorow's] poetic imagination."-The New York Times Book Review"Hypnotic . . . a dazzling romp, an extraordinary read, given strength and grace by the telling, by the poetic voice and controlled cynical lyricism of its streetwise and world-weary narrator."-The Philadelphia Inquirer"A gem of a novel, intimate as chamber music . . . a thriller guaranteed to leave readers with residual chills and shudders."-Boston Sunday Herald"Enthralling . . . a story of debauchery and redemption that is spellbinding from first page to last."-Chicago Sun-Times"An immense, extraordinary achievement."-San Francisco ChronicleFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
Hard Times is the name of a town in the barren hills of the Dakota Territory. To this town there comes one day one of the reckless sociopaths who wander the West to kill and rape and pillage. By the time he is through and has ridden off, Hard Times is a smoking ruin. The de facto mayor, Blue, takes in two survivors of the carnage-a boy, Jimmy, and a prostitute, Molly, who has suffered unspeakably-and makes them his provisional family. Blue begins to rebuild Hard Times, welcoming new settlers, while Molly waits with vengeance in her heart for the return of the outlaw. Here is E. L. Doctorow's debut novel, a searing allegory of frontier life that sets the stage for his subsequent classics."A forceful, credible story of cowardice and evil."-The Washington Post"We are caught up with these people as real human beings."-Chicago Sun-Times"Dramatic and exciting."-The New York Times"Terse and powerful."-Newsweek"A taut, bloodthirsty read."-The Times Literary Supplement"A superb piece of fiction."-The New RepublicFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
"Something close to magic." The Los Angeles TimesThe astonishing novel of a young boy's life in the New York City of the 1930s, a stunning recreation of the sights, sounds, aromas and emotions of a time when the streets were safe, families stuck together through thick and thin, and all the promises of a generation culminate in a single great World's Fair . . .From the Paperback edition.
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