- Published: New York : Random House, 
- Year Published: 1975
- Edition: 1st ed.
- Description: 270 p. ; 24 cm.
- Language: English
- Format: Book
- Lexile: 930
- 9780812978186 (softcover)
- 0452279070 :
- 0679602976 (Modern Library) :
- African American families -- Fiction.
- Jewish families -- Fiction.
- United States -- Fiction. -- History -- 1901-1909
- New York (State) -- Fiction. -- History -- 1865
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Call number: Fiction
"Three remarkable families lives' become entwined with Henry Ford, Harry Houdini, J.P. Morgan, Theodore Dreiser, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata at the turn of the century." "The lives of an upper-middle-class family in New Rochelle; a black ragtime musician who loses his beloved, his child, and his life because of bigotry; and a poor immigrant Jewish family are interwoven in this early-twentieth-century story. There are cameo appearances by well-known figures of that period: Houdini, anarchist Emma Goldman, actress Evelyn Nesbit, Henry Ford, and J.P. Morgan, whose magnificent library plays an important part in the story. The book mingles fact and fiction in portraying the era of ragtime."
While this book was enjoyable I did have issues with the literary style, in particular the author's sentence structure. It seemed that the average sentence length was 5-7 words and read like "The adjective noun was verbing. The other adjective noun was verbing". As someone who tends to think, and write, in run-on thoughts this made the book very choppy to read. There wasn't significant character development until the latter parts of the book, instead relying on the novelty of it's famous supporting cast to carry the earlier parts of the story. The latter chapters hint at the author's potential for depth of character and mastery of language; I would be interested in reading some of his other works. I didn't know much about the author while reading this and assumed it was one of his first novels, I was surprised to find out the opposite when I read a little about him.
I read this book as part of my quest to read some of the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels, and am slightly disappointed in it's inclusion. It was enjoyable, but I wouldn't place it on my list of 100 Best Novels.
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