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 . . .
From the Pap...more
Yep... Doctorow's craft is dated (uh, like Tolstoy is dated); to read it is to watch the literary equivalent of a furniture maker who doesn't use nails. The story, which won the National Book Award in 1986, takes you back to the late 1930's and fixes your gaze towards the present. "L...more
My only other Doctorow so far has been Ragtime, a hugely entertaining, cinematic, plot-driven novel populated by allegorical figures. Nothing could be more unlike the relatively plotless, odors-of-the-shop-with-overtones-of-nostalgia realism here.
Without much in the way of plot or complex characterization, World's Fair stands or falls mainly on the strength of its evocation of a time and place: Bronx in the 1930s. I notice ma...more
However, instead of being a story involving the fair, this turned out to be more of a memoir. Based on expectations alone, I’d give this a 2. At the time I picked this up I re...more
Really good book. I can even imagine wanting to read it again. The only parts I skipped were where he goes on and on about some comic action hero, things like that.
Good 2011 review of it in The Guardian by Tom Cox,
[as you might expect, only 2 of the 10 books Cox reviews are by women...sigh...]
New York 1930s from persp. of kid 4 to 10 yrs old, mostly secular Jewish family, 2nd gen. E Europe. Sold as a novel, but surely it is mostly autobiogr? He calls t...more
While this book was enjoyable overall, certain aspects yielded mixed feelings. My only other Doctorow novel prior to this was Ragtime, which easily secured a place among my favorite books of all time—intricate and gorgeously written. It was through this novel that I discovered Doctorow’s dazzling flair for historical fiction, for reimagining vivid panoramas of the past and immersing one in the sight, sounds, and smells of a bygone era. I can’t sing enough praises for that novel. So, when I...more
His novel "Ragtime" which I read last year was fantastic - scintillating and sharp and racing. "World's Fair" was meticulously detailed, wide eyed and full of wonder, and inside the mind and heart of a small boy in early 20th cen...more
The story is good. It held things I always love when they're well done, NYC as a character, convoluted families, ethnic families, coming of age and a retell from a child's pov. This had it all. In fact, I read later that it has a lot of E.L.'s biography in it.
I like a ficti...more
The character of Edgars's father is - maybe to compare with the...more
It's no accident that the story of Edgar (the narrator) and the story of the author are so close. T...more
According to a review of the book on amazon.com, the novel is meant to be taken as au...more
To say that it's biographically based is to state the obvious, a fact Doctorow has acknowledged in several interviews. The young narrator's name, even, is his own: Edgar. As much as many of the story's events are based in fact, though, he is not writing a biography, but a fictional history/memoir of life and growing up during the Depression, a long, affecti...more
The story - largely autobiographical - takes place in the 1930s, at war's brink. The World's Fair is taking place in NYC, and young Edgar, a Jewish kid, is desperate to attend. What unfolds between the start of the book and the inevitable trip to the Fair is nothing short of brilliant.
Keenly-felt explanations of what it meant to be a youth in the 30s (and a Jew) are offered w...more