Tiffany's Reviews > City of God

City of God by E.L. Doctorow
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's review
Feb 09, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 1001-books, 1001-books__fromlist
Read from February 06 to 09, 2011

This was ... REALLY GOOD. It has many different threads (some I didn't even fully pick up on until I read the book's description on GR), but it seemed to me that the main one was the story of Thomas Pemberton, a priest in New York City. From there, the story branches out into the stories of Joshua and Sarah (Blumenthal) Gruen, rabbis of Evolutionary Judaism in New York City; Everett, the author who writes mystery stories based on Pemberton; the workings of Everett's mind, including possible movie and book plots; Everett's father's and brother's actions in World War I and World War II, respectively; and a Jewish ghetto in WWII, which housed Sarah's father in his pre-teens.

The storylines that I liked the best were the ones about Pemberton, the ones about the rabbis, and Sarah's father's story. I also liked one of Everett's movie plots, about a man and woman having an affair (the man becomes controlling, and eventually takes over the woman's husband's life).

I think what I really, really liked about the book was the bit about the movie about the affair, and the thread about Sarah's father's life in the ghetto. The movie plotline reminded me of Jose Saramago's The Double, so that was the first thing that really sparked my attention. Also, the Jewish ghetto story, with the hiding from the Nazis and pretending you're someone you're not, reminded me of a grown-up version of Lois Lowry's Number the Stars.

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