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Martin Dressler Ou Le Roman D Un Reveur
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Martin Dressler Ou Le Roman D Un Reveur

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  5,703 ratings  ·  337 reviews
Martin Dressler is a turn-of-the-century New York City entrepreneur who begins in his father's cigar store but dreams of a bigger empire. That dream shapes into a series of large hotels. At first, Dressler's seems the archetypal American success story, but he does not quite grasp the future. The Manhattan of fabled skyline is about to take shape just over the horizon, but ...more
Published June 1st 2002 by Livre de Poche (first published March 25th 1996)
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A cautionary tale for ambitious people, because who likes ambitious people? Not me. I can best describe it as kind of like Atlas Shrugged, but you know, the complete opposite, so good. Also, it's short. So if you hated Atlas Shrugged—and there are plenty of reasons to hate Atlas Shrugged—you'll probably love Martin Dressler.

True story: I went out to eat at a restaurant in Brooklyn, The Dressler. I asked our waiter if the restaurant was named after this book. It turns out it was, indeed, named a
Mar 24, 2011 Paul rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the author's immediate family
Shelves: novels
It's about work, and fairly unglamorous work at that, hotel construction and management. How dull is that? I'd say a reading of over 90 on the dullometer. But then the hotels which the hero builds get ever more elaborate and weirder and the book shimmies into magical realism which is a thing where you write about something blatantly impossible as if it's just boring and everyday and complete zoos on the 54th floor and an Arabian desert on the 70th floor is something an ambitious hotel entreprene ...more
This book... no good. Once again I was lured by a Pulitzer Prize sticker that in the end left me wondering who exactly votes for these novels.

The description of New York City at the boom of its birth (late 1800s) was interesting but that's about it.

First, the story bothered me. Martin spends too much time trying to out-do his last feat. He also ends up marrying the wrong girl, which is very frustrating.

Second, his constant description of Caroline's hair pulled back tight against her head was b
Moses Kilolo
I once read somewhere that people err not for want of doing what is bad, but for misdirected want of what is good. Martin Dressler starts out as a simple young man with unquestionable intelligence and ambition, and perhaps a little luck. He rises step by step and watches his vision of making a big businessman, an hotel owner, of himself grow broader and broader. And in the process he makes the choice that most of us tend to find themselves making, loving the elusive, the difficult to attain and ...more
This story is about the quintessential concept that defines American culture: the American dream. Martin Dressler begins the book as a clerk in a cigar store in New York at the dawn of the 20th century. As he watches the city spring up around him, he's filled with ideas of his own on improving the landscape. He starts with a restaurant, which becomes a chain, then moves to hotels. Along the way, he picks up several consumer concepts that are in their infancy, like subliminal advertising campaign ...more
Millhauser, Steven. MARTIN DRESSLER: The Tale of an American Dreamer. (1996). ***. After having read a couple of books by this author, I was eagerly looking forward to reading this one – his Pulitzer Prize winner. I was disappointed. Although well-written, the plot was humdrum and uninspired. Martin Dressler, the hero, grew up helping his father in his cigar store in NYC. He gets a chance to move out of the store into a hotel, where he starts out as a bellboy, but rapidly moves up in rank until ...more
a pre wwi novel set in new york city, where the titular martin strives to achieve his dreams....of what? being a rich business man? no, not really. being a hotel builder and owner? no, not really. having a family and enjoying his friends and loved ones? no, not really.
what does martin want? what he gets is a feeling that he has luck and that this force of good is directing his steps to maximize modern inventions but hidden behind facades of classicism to build bigger and bigger "skyscrapers" in
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
The reason why this was on my shelf is that it was an assigned textin one of my English courses at uni. I don't remember which one, which is a shame, because that might have given me an idea of how to read it. I mean, having read it now (obviously I never did for the class!), I really want to know why it was included. I'd also like to know what was passed over the year this won the Pulitzer - was it like a typical Oscars night, the choices a bit thin so Shakespeare in Love wins? (Am I the only ...more
I very much enjoyed this story of a poor boy who becomes a hotel entrepreneur in turn of the century New York, who dreams of a marvelous place where vistors can enter the building and experience otherworldly wonders. Like most fictional dreamers, he's ahead of his time, and his dream can't survive in his world.

Martin's fantasy of a place you can visit that takes you with a few easy steps from the world as you know it to any number of places around the world, under the sea, or in the heavens, was
I learned a valuable lesson from this book: don't buy anything just because it won the Pulitzer Prize. I saw that little gold sticker on the cover of the paperback edition. The story sounded like an interesting take on the American drive to make things ever bigger and better. Maybe that's what Millhauser meant to do, but he got lost somewhere checking into the Grand Cosmopolitan or Grand Martini or whatever the name of that white elephant hotel was. Endless pages of lists and dull people doing.. ...more
Amanda Trosten-bloom
This 25 year old novel won the Pulitzer Prize, and it took me awhile to figure out why. The characters and the writing style are rather stiff and one-sided; but as I finished it up, I realized it was an allegory about The American Dream (which is, of course, the subtitle - "The Tale of an American Dreamer.") There's rich, over-the-top detail about the principal character's architectural and business ventures - so detailed, in fact, that I briefly wondered if it was semi-historical. (In fact, I'd ...more
Como ya dije en su momento en la reseña de 'Risas peligrosas', Millhauser es un escritor esquivo, que huye tanto del éxito como del fracaso. Con 'Martin Dressler. Historia de un soñador americano' obtuvo el Premio Pulitzer en 1997, algo que parece no haber influido en la vida de Millhauser, que ya veía reconocida su obra por la crítica especializada. Con todo lo que se publica en este país, es una pena que escritores de su talla, y en concreto de novelas como 'Martin Dressler', pasen de puntilla ...more
Jeffrey Chao
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I had no clue it would take me no time to read this book, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1997; but reading it puts one into a dreamlike state, perfectly in keeping with the fabulous (in many meanings of the term) story of this book. And, having just finished reading it, I may still be in a dream giving a report of it, which may be just fine. (A good book, and quite readable, but a deep book, with subterranean levels.)

The book tells the story of Martin Dressler, born in New York City
Nathan Hirstein
The first time I picked this up I devoured it, like the meal you begin eating simply because it is placed before you, but which tastes so good you cannot stop until you have finished it. When I put the book down I had to spend several minutes trying to figure out where I was. As it turns out, I happened to be in a hotel room in Berlin, listening to the light-rail rattle by outside. I felt tired and confused and I wasn't sure what to do next.

Other reviewers have tried to make the case that this
I loved the early descriptions of New York. The writing style was lovely and prosey and I felt it suited the descriptions and the feelings of a growing economy, changing times, entrepreneurial spirit, etc. I was quite pleased with the first half of the book. I hated the passages with the wife, and as they increased my irritation with the main character also grew. Eventually I found him irritating as hell. Then we sort of veered into magic realism, which is not my strong point. While his dreams w ...more
I've previously read only Millhauser's short stories, which I've loved, including his collection in Dangerous Laughter and more recent work in the New Yorker. Martin Dressler is an easy read, and a quick one -- I completed it this afternoon and evening in one sitting. Could Millhauser have expressed his message of the meaninglessness, perhaps the poison, of endless ambition in one of his finely crafted short stories, rather than in a (fairly short) novel? Probably. Wait, no, definitely. I just r ...more
Brent Legault
I bet if I bothered to uproot every review of this novel that the word magical would appear several times in every one of them. That's because Martin Dressler is a fairy tale. And I don't like fairy tales. Because they're composed of smushy-gushy dreamy-creamy language that I do not brook. And this fairy tale, being a very long fairy tale as fairy tales go, has even more of that sort of mushery than most. Nearly every sentence wants to enchant or enrapture the poor, bored reader. And there are t ...more
alana Semuels
This story starts out as a homage to New York and Americans' ability to build, build, build, but then turns into a fantasy as Martin Dressler builds hotels that are worlds he can disappear into. Very similar to Millhauser's short story, "In the reign of Harad iv," which was recently featured in a New Yorker Fiction podcast. In both, men get wrapped up in the dreams they build. Wonder, though, if Millhauser is just a one trick pony, or if his other writings differ from these. All in all, though, ...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
I liked it, but probably appreciated it more because I was first introduced to Millhauser through his short stories. He loves lists, and describing successive items, stringing them together in a fantastical image and creating an overwhelming image. This style is challenging in a novel, but overall he did better than I thought he would at holding my attention. The historical NY setting was especially interesting as the trains are tunneled underground and uptown lots are being sold to speculators. ...more
Sean Gainford

I'm so bored with this book. I'm so bored that I don't even want to go back to it to see why it was so boring for this review. I just want to start reading another book. But just quickly: a lot of talking about the mundane in a mundane way; there is a lot of detail in this book but not really any telling detail; main character seems two dimensional, and so do the rest; the narration seems very distant from the story and doesn't involve the reader's imagination. I think this novel would hav

Millhauser writes in color, creating vivid images of New York City at the turn of the 20th century when the Upper West Side was an open grassy field and ladies sat of an evening in hotel parlors sipping amber liquids from delicate glassware. I love this book. It has sadly become a rare reading experience for me as an adult to sink helplessly and deliciously into another time and place within the pages of a book. This book made me feel like a child again. The “olden days in New York” may have bee
It took until the last quarter of the book for this to really resemble the Steven Millhauser I knew, and when that finally happened it was incredible, and the ending is great, but the first three quarters of the book were kind of stale, and I couldn't figure out why anyone was acting the way they were, we really had no insight into the characters. Not to say that's what Millhauser is great at doing, but when there aren't any clockwork mummies and goblins and living toys in the middle of all the ...more
Christian Schwoerke
I re-read Edwin Mullhouse recently, and I wanted to see what more Millhauser was capable of, as it was clear from his first novel that he was very much a writer’s writer, one very concerned with style and a sort of writerly playfulness. As far as that went, Martin Dressler did not disappoint with this extended allegory of the writer as dreamer/architect/builder. Millhauser begins with a very clean, unobtrusive, straight-forward prose, which is especially effective when young Martin Dressler is o ...more
A strange, sometimes surreal book that was often like a lingering visit to an antique store or document archive. The author indulged in long descriptive passages about turn of the century New York--street scenes, commerce, and the like. I enjoyed these: what a command he has of the minutiae of life in old New York! But I can see how reading these would be a feat of endurance for many. The book is low on action, but long on contemplation.
This was a charming tale. A bright, creative boy dreams a dream in the last quarter of the 19th century. It is a time when America, and New York City in particular, is growing and transforming. We watch as the young boy becomes a man, and his dream unfolds. It is a tale of vision, and of vision meeting reality. It is full of imagination and optimism, tempered with the frustrations that emerge when dreams and realities meet.
Aug 15, 2007 Malbadeen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people that like the garmet district
Was pretty hopped up on crack cocaine and shroomes when I read this so I don't remember much beyond Martin being a sweet guy - but even that could be wrong. While Sarah noted, "Haven't heard of it, must be stupid" I tend to think that it must've been kind of good as:
a). I have an over all fond feeling towards it
b). it won a pulitzer
Alex Merrett
An engrossing allegorical fable about a man of vaulting ambition who "dreams the wrong dream", leading to the construction of ever larger superstructures to offset the collapse within. (Hey, we've all been there.)

A terrific book about being suffused with an almost evangelical zeal in the service of disillusion.
An interesting tale of life in New York City at the end of the 19th Century. I enjoyed the descriptions of the buildings, and the progress, and various aspects of life, but I never really liked the main character, Martin Dressler. The novel remained too detached from him, I think, so he was a cypher to me.
I chose to read this book mostly because it was about turn of the century New York City and also a Pulitzer Prize winner. While I can see why the writing may have deserved a Pulitzer - beautiful sentences, vivid descriptions of furnishings and scenery - the story was tedious and the characters were not really that interesting. The relationship between Martin Dressler and the three women he meets in his boarding house is realistically Victorian but extremely boring from the vantage point of today ...more
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“Do you believe that the actor on the stage is really a villain? Let me ask you something else. If he isn't a villain, then is he a liar?” 1 likes
“Martin got up and brushed off the seat of his pants with his hat. He put his hat on his head and started back toward the path. For when you woke from a long dream, into the new morning, then try as you might you couldn't not hear, beyond your door, the sounds of the new day, the drawer opening in your father's bureau, the bang of a pot, you couldn't not see, through your trembling lashes, the stripe of light on the bedroom wall. Boys shouted in the park, on a sunny tree-root he saw a cigar band, red and gold. One of these days he might find something to do in a cigar store, after all he still knew his tobacco, you never forgot a thing like that. But not just yet. Boats moved on the river, somewhere a car horn sounded, on the path a piece of broken glass glowed in a patch of sun as if at any second it would burst into flame. Everything stood out sharply: the red stem of a green leaf, horse clops and the distant clatter of a pneumatic drill, a smell of riverwater and asphalt. Martin felt hungry: chops and beer in a little he remembered on Columbus Avenue. But not yet. For the time being he would just walk along, keeping a little out of the way of things, admiring the view. It was a warm day. He was in no hurry.” 0 likes
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