Top positive review
Who but Doctorow could make the broken and doomed dreams of New York so compelling?
on December 31, 2015
If there is a perfect novel, E.L.Doctorow's majestic and breath-taking Billy Bathgate is it. Others have noted the "too pat" tie up with the narrator's life, which is justified, yet taken in its entirety this is a literary masterpiece.
From the treatment of the chilling, fathomless rubbing of once trigger-man Bo Weinberg to the not-so clandestine courting and besmirchment of the boss's vacuous if gorgeous moll to the final miserable moments of the brutal Dutchman Schultz himself, Doctorow treats with humanity-impossibly!-the broken characters of this work and that sad age.
New York was full of broken dreams in the 1930s, just as it is to this very day. And crime is nothing if not the pursuit of redemption by the supposedly irredeemable, however improbable, but Doctorow's masterful renditions of historical gangsters resonates with so much vivid texture and of such blazing intensity that resisting hypnotic immersion in Billy's rotten and doomed world is all but impossible.
So make a call to your bookie about that nagging if impossible tip on the trifecta, browse the rejects in the wares of Arnold Garbage for any interesting if malfunctioning finds and, of course, visit sweet Rebecca on the roof overlooking the dismal dystopia, then settle in for a few nights of entrancing otherworldly bliss.
This is by and large just about as perfect a novel as can be had, written by a master in the full splendor of his ability.