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  • gilwilson 5:42 PM on April 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: judaism, , poor, , world's fair   

    World’s Fair: A Novel By E.L. Doctorow 

    World’s Fair: A Novel51EOJzpHI+L._SL500_
    By: E.L. Doctorow
    Narrated by: John Rubinstein
    Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
    Release date: 03-04-14
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    I finally got to “World’s Fair” in my run through E.L. Doctorow’s novels, and was not sure what to expect. We had gangsters in “Bill Bathgate,” religious themes in “City of God,” so the themes are wide open. In this book we get a look at a young Jewish boy’s life during the ’30s in New York.

    The book is told through the eyes of the young boy and the sense of wonder and surprise is in full revolution. The boy, Edgar, wants to go to the 1939 World’s Fair but his family is poor and the chance of him going is pretty slim. Eventually things work in Edgar’s favor and he enjoys the different aspects offered by the world’s fair. From the food to the attractions the reader gets to enjoy the experience through Edgar. The writing is such that everything is told and with the narrator, John Rubenstein delivers the story with the same emotions and wonder as told by Doctorow.

    So far this is my favorite of all the Doctorow’s works, falling second to what was in first place, “Billy Bathgate.” This story is just a lot of fun.

    Publisher’s Summary

    The 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…

    ©2014 E.L. Doctorow (P)2014 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 5:42 PM on March 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , heresy, judaism, , theology   

    City of God: A Novel By: E. L. Doctorow 

    City of God: A Novel516Sn666p5L._SL500_
    By: E. L. Doctorow
    Narrated by: John Rubinstein
    Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
    Release date: 03-04-14
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Having just read “Billy Bathgate” by E.L. Doctorow, I was curious to hear what some of his other books would sound like. For some reason I was under the impression that Doctorow only wrote gangster like stories. This book was the first to prove me wrong. I had also considered listening to “World’s Fair” but went with this one. Maybe later.

    First let’s talk about what makes this audiobook unique. The narrator, John Rubinstein, delivers the story with perfect voice and emphasis. The problem is the story is just so disjointed it get’s boring and tedious. Actually Rubinstein’s voice saved me from stopping after the first few chapters. He kept it interesting and pleasant to hear.

    Not only is the subject matter (religion) difficult to approach but going back and forth between Catholic and Jewish characters, there are times where I just got lost. At first I thought it was going to be one of those who-is-better types of approaches to religion, but that was not the case. Then I thought it was how faiths can get along, but that was not fully right either. To me this book seemed like Doctorow had a few ideas for novels but never finished each and just slapped them together here. There were some nice moments, mainly with the dialogue, but not enough to make me like it.

    “Billy Bathgate” was way better, maybe I should have gone with “World’s Fair.”

    Publisher’s Summary

    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 become 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 listeners have been thirsting for: a defining document of our times, a narrative of the 20th century written for the 21st.

    ©2001 E. L. Doctorow (P)2014 Random House Audio

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