Sweet Land Stories

      E. L. Doctorow
Sweet Land Stories

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.


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    Andrew's Brain

      E. L. Doctorow
Andrew's Brain

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, SLATE, AND* THE THELEGRAPH*

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
 *

“Too compelling to put down . . . fascinating, sometimes funny, often profound . . . Andrew is a provocatively interesting and even sympathetic character. . . . The novel seamlessly combines Doctorow’s remarkable prowess as a literary stylist with deep psychological storytelling pitting truth against delusion, memory and perception, consciousness and craziness. . . . [Doctorow] takes huge creative risks—the best kind.”
USA Today
 *
“Cunning [and] sly . . . 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.”
The New York Times Book Review
 *

“A tantalising tour de force . . . a journey worth taking . . . With exhilarating brio, the book plays off . . . two contrasting takes on mind and brain. . . . [Andrew’s Brain encompasses] an astonishing range of modes: vaudeville humour, tragic romance, philosophical speculation. . . . It fizzes with intellectual energy, verbal pyrotechnics and satiric flair.”The Sunday Times (London)
 
“Dramatic . . . cunning and beautiful . . . strange and oddly fascinating, this book: a musing, a conjecture, a frivolity, a deep interrogatory, a hymn.”—*San Francisco Chronicle*

“Provocative . . . a story aswirl in a whirlpool of neuroscience, human relations, loss, guilt and recent American history . . . Doctorow reveals his mastery in the sheen of a text that is both window and mirror. Reading his work is akin to soaring in a glider. Buoyed by invisible breath, readers encounter stunning vistas stretching to horizons they’ve never imagined.”*The Plain Dealer


“Andrew’s ruminations can be funny, and his descriptions gorgeous.”—Associated Press

“[An] evocative, suspenseful novel about the deceptive nature of human consciousness.”—*More
 *

“A quick and acutely intelligent read.”
Entertainment Weekly**

From the Hardcover edition.


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    World's Fair

      E. L. Doctorow
World's Fair

"Something close to magic." The Los Angeles Times

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 . . .


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    Ragtime: A Novel

      E. L. Doctorow
Ragtime: A Novel

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

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.


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    The Book of Daniel

      E. L. Doctorow
The Book of Daniel

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.


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    The March

      E. L. Doctorow
The March

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
WINNER OF THE PEN/FAULKNER AWARD
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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 E. L. 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.


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    Loon Lake

      E. L. Doctorow
Loon Lake

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-Times


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    Doctorow

      E. L. Doctorow
Doctorow

A superb collection of fifteen stories by an American master, E. L. Doctorow—the author of Ragtime, The March, The Book of Daniel, and Billy Bathgate

He has been called "a national treasure" by George Saunders. Doctorow's great topic, said Don DeLillo, is "the reach of American possibility, in which plain lives take on the cadences of history." This power is apparent everywhere in these stories: the bravery and self-delusion of people seeking the American dream; the geniuses, mystics, and charlatans who offer people false hope, or an actual glimpse of greatness.

In "A House on the Plains," a mother has a plan for financial independence, which may include murder. In "Walter John Harmon," a man starts a cult using subterfuge and seduction. "Jolene: A Life" follows a teenager who escapes her home for Hollywood on a perilous quest for success. "Heist," the account of an Episcopal priest coping with a crisis of faith,...

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    The Waterworks

      E. L. Doctorow
The Waterworks

“An elegant page-turner of nineteenth-century detective fiction.”
–The Washington Post Book World

One 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.”


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    City of God

      E. L. Doctorow
City of God

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

With brilliant and audacious strokes, E. L. Doctorow creates a breathtaking collage of memories, events, visions, and provocative thought, all centered on an idea of the modern reality of God. At the heart of this stylistically daring tour de force is a detective story about a cross that vanishes from a rundown Episcopal church in lower Manhattan only to reappear on the roof of an Upper West Side synagogue. Intrigued by the mystery—and by the maverick rector and the young rabbi investigating the strange act of desecration—is a well-known novelist, whose capacious brain is a virtual repository for the ideas and disasters of the age.

Daringly poised at the junction of the sacred and the profane, filled with the sights and sounds of New York, and encompassing a large cast of vividly drawn characters including theologians, scientists, Holocaust survivors, and war veterans, City of God is a monumental work of spiritual reflection, philosophy, and history by America’s preeminent novelist and chronicler of our time.
 
Praise for *City of God
 *

“A grander perspective on the universe . . . a novel that sets its sights on God.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Dazzling . . . The true miracle of City of God is the way its disparate parts fuse into a consistently enthralling and suspenseful whole.”
Time

“Blooms with humor, and a humanity that carries triumphant as intelligent a novel as one might hope to find these days.”
Los Angeles Times

 
“Radiates [with] panoramic ambition and spiritual incandescence.”Chicago Tribune
 
“One of the greatest American novels of the past fifty years . . . Reading
City of God *restores one’s faith in literature.”
The Houston Chronicle
*

From the Hardcover edition.


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    Billy Bathgate

      E. L. Doctorow
Billy Bathgate

In the Bronx of the 1930s, 15-year-old Billy Bathgate hooks up with a legendary mobster, Dutch Schultz. Schultz becomes an unlikely surrogate parent to the boy, introducing him to the ways of the world and training Billy to follow in his footsteps. After Billy falls for Schulz's latest girlfriend, he begins to question the actions of the mob he was so eager to join. As he seeks to protect the young woman, he gains strength in following his own heart and makes a courageous passage from boyhood to adulthood. E.L Doctorow won the 1990 PEN/Faulkner Award for this novel.


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    Welcome to Hard Times

      E. L. Doctorow
Welcome to Hard Times

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 Republic


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