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Manhattan Transfer

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  4,107 ratings  ·  343 reviews
Considered by many to be John Dos Passos's greatest work, Manhattan Transfer is an "expressionistic picture of New York" (New York Times) in the 1920s that reveals the lives of wealthy power brokers and struggling immigrants alike. From Fourteenth Street to the Bowery, Delmonico's to the underbelly of the city waterfront, Dos Passos chronicles the lives of characters strug ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Mariner Books (first published 1925)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,107 ratings  ·  343 reviews


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BlackOxford
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, american
Hopeless Migration

New York City was, perhaps still is, defined not so much geographically as spiritually by the unfulfilled aspirations of the people who migrate to it. And those migrants historically have come as much from the American hinterland as they have from across the ocean.

Manhattan Tranfer was a stop on the Pennsylvania Railroad in Newark, New Jersey before the tunnel under the Hudson connecting the mainline to Manhattan was completed. Once you arrived there, you had nowhere else to g
...more
Kim
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: maurice
I’m going to pull a GJ (Ginnie Jones) here and state:

”Manhattan Transfer is a kaleidoscopic portrait of New York City in the first two decades of the 20th century that follows the changing fortunes of more than a dozen characters as they strive to make sense out of the chaos of modern urban existence.”

Yeah, so that’s really what you need to know if you, you know, want the breakdown. Of course, I need to add my own two cents. ( Of course)

Reading this was an act of love. My husband has tried for
...more
Joseph
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hustle and bustle of the Big City

New York a the start of the twentieth century. Several stories interwoven demonstrate the chaos of city life. Characters range from rich, former rich, and poor. A great mix reflecting the city at the time.
Michael
Oct 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dos-passos
It might be difficult to understand this novel if you've never lived in a large city. Dos Passos captures the chaos and disorientation of trying to survive in an urban battlefield, with all its violence, interruptions, temptations, anonymity, stimuli, and speed by writing in a still experimental modern style of cut-ups, fragments, and stream of consciousness. Manhattan Transfer's ferociously exciting to read, not only because it so accurately represents the physical sensations of modernity in ju ...more
Nood-Lesse
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20-18
«Questo non è forse il paese delle occasioni?»

Per cercare di dare un parametro a chi volesse leggere il libro, scriverò che l’Ulysses di Joyce è, fra i libri che ho letto, quello più simile a Manhattan Transfer, pur con significativi distinguo. I due libri hanno in comune la frammentarietà di una trama assai difficile da seguire, fatta di balzi temporali e narrativi, ma mentre Joyce procede preferibilmente per flusso di coscienza, Dos Passos si affida ad una scrittura molto fisica. New York è un
...more
Pat
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Manhattan Transfer fu pubblicato nel 1925, quando Dos Passos era ancora dalla parte di Sacco e Vanzetti.

“Ciò che c’è di più tremendo a New York è che quando ne avete fin sopra i capelli, non sapete più in quale altro posto andare. È il tetto del mondo. La sola cosa che ci rimane è girare e girare come lo scoiattolo in gabbia”

In questa New York, madre abietta, spietata eppure splendida e seducente, nel cui ventre pullulano figlie e figli, schegge di vite e storie s’intersecano, si sfiorano e mai
...more
Teresa
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l-1001bymrbyd, n-eua, 3e
"Se tem curiosidade de saber como é Nova Iorque, a que cheira... então este é o livro indicado para si."
New York Herald Tribune

Pois... não tenho nariz para tanto...

A narrativa é composta quase exclusivamente por diálogos entre as personagens que aparecem e desaparecem, em vários momentos das suas vidas. São mais de meia centena, que me pareceram mortos-vivos; excepto uma que morreu logo no início.
Suponho que o objectivo é dar a conhecer Nova Iorque, no início do Século XX; a riqueza, a pobrez
...more
Dagio_maya
Tra miseria e nobiltà.

“Volti lungo la ferrovia; volti agli oblò. Sottovento, arrivava odore di marcio dalle navi cisterna all’ancora, un poco inclinate da un lato, con la bandiera gialla della quarantena afflosciata all’albero maestro.
«Darei un milione di dollari», disse il vecchio, appoggiandosi ai remi, «per sapere che cosa vengono a fare.»
«Vengono a dare un’occhiata», rispose il ragazzo seduto al timone. «Questo è il Paese delle opportunità, o no?»
«Io so solo una cosa», disse il vecchio. «
...more
Stela
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stela by: Fewlas

How can be explained the complicated and fascinating relationship between the city and the narrator in all major Modernist works whose theme is urbanity? Think of James Joyce’s Dublin, dull and suffocating, with its Evelyns forever clued on the shore they dare not leave. Think of Henry Miller’s Paris, with its siren song that entangles the artists to better devour them. Think of Virginia Woolf’s London, collecting thoughts and fates in the glimpse of a park, the rush of a street, the passing of
...more
Lisa
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I had avoided Dos Passos novels for fear that they would be deadeningly political. Was I ever wrong? This book is wonderfully enjoyable. Told in impressionistic vignettes the book moves quickly as stars on the Manhattan stage rise and fall. Dos Passos indictment of the materialism and soulessness of turn of the century New York is told with neither sentiment nor heartlessness, but falls in a middle ground-dispassionate.

The time frames can be confusing. For instance, in the beginning the book,th
...more
Alex
Of two best TV shows of this century, Breaking Bad is a deep character study; The Wire is a deep city study. Breaking Bad is about people; The Wire is about systems, architecture, an entire structure from the top to the bottom. That's a tough trick to pull off. It's not very inviting; there are necessarily many characters, some of whom you don't get to spend much time with, and it's hard to get into a story that keeps shifting under you. (This is also why nonfiction history books are way more fu ...more
Writerlibrarian
Now that's a whole other kind of fiction. Something to cherish and treasure. It reads like a movie but the good kind. It doesn't really have a plot instead it follows the lives of a few characters throughout the years in early 1900, through WW1 and right before the 1929 crash but you can feel it coming. Written in 1925, translated in French in 1928, it still is as interesting and vibrant as it was then. New York shines through all the pages. Dark and light, how the richs live and how the poors d ...more
Gabriele
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, americana
Dove accadono le cose

Scegliere un punto da cui iniziare questa recensione è stato molto difficile, e non tanto per le 400 pagine fitte fitte in carattere minuscolo che compongono questo "Manhattan Transfer", quanto per il numero di personaggi e di situazioni che vanno a costruire una trama tanto intricata quanto inestricabile. Se però c'è una cosa che ho imparato, a me che piace perdere tempo dietro puzzle da migliaia di tessere, è che per fare un puzzle, per quanto sia complesso, magari puoi pa
...more
Olethros
Mar 30, 2017 rated it liked it
-Adelantado a su tiempo entonces, todavía llamativo en estas épocas.-

Género. Novela.

Lo que nos cuenta. La vida en Nueva York de un gran número de personajes a través de varias décadas, pero con la ciudad como protagonista, todos ellos ejemplos de las piezas individuales que hicieron de la ciudad y su sociedad lo que terminó siendo, en el sentido más positivo pero también en el más negativo.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

http://librosdeolethros.blogspot.com/...
James
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing

The ferry-slip. A ferry, and a newborn baby. A young man comes to the metropolis and the story begins. It is a story of that metropolis: "The world's second metropolis." But it is really the latest in a line that extends backward in time to "Nineveh . . Athens . . . Rome . . . Constantinople . ." and others since.

John Dos Passos presents stories of some of the people who call this metropolis, Manhattan, home near the beginning of the twentieth century. The novel is about New Yorkers and their st
...more
Barbara
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's easy to see why this is considered a masterpiece. Dos Passos has painted a picture of New York City from the Gilded Age to the 20's. The actual plot wasn't that fascinating, but the writing style was exceptional. Using short prose-poems to begin each chapter, vignettes of people's lives, quotations from popular songs of the day, overheard conversations, newspaper headlines and more, we get a powerful portrait of the city.

It's a portrait that could be considered anti-establishment. I know th
...more
Elalma
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nordamericana
Non un briciolo di senso artistico, non un bel monumento, non atmosfera storica: ecco New York. Sarà, ma allora perché questo libro esplode di energia, ritmo frenetico, voglia di nuovo? Anche se fin dall'inizio si capisce che non è possibile ricordare tutti i personaggi -forse ricordiamo tutte le persone sedute dietro di noi a un ristorante o che salgono e scendono dai tram? - si viene attratti dalla varietà di storie e microstorie e di come sono raccontate in poche parole con tanti dialoghi che ...more
Holly
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Bustling, jumpy and intense. For me, Manhattan Transfer was a different reading experience than I'm used to, but in a good way! Looking deep into New York life, you never get a sense that you're standing still, in the moment. There's always things going on around the single bit of narrative you're reading. Dos Passos' writing directly places you there, with fleeting looks at characters and detailed descriptions of the busy city. I, surprisingly, liked the complexity of this novel. It's not every ...more
Alex
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sehr schwierig, dieses Buch mit Sternen zu bewerten. Früher in dieser Woche wollte ich mit dem Buch aufhören, habe mich aber sofort umentschieden.
Das ist ein hoch experimentelles Buch (wahrscheinlich die U.S.A. Trilogie ist noch experimenteller) und wenn man es so betrachtet, dann ist lesbar. Wenn man nichts mehr erwartet, wird es auch nicht mehr so langweilig. Übrigens, für die Deutschen Leser, wenn sie die Rowohlt Ausgabe habt, lest bitte nicht was auf der Rückseite steht - die Beschreibung d
...more
Alun Williams
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now we are post credit-crunch this is probably a very good time to read this unusual American novel. At times it was hard to believe that Manhattan Transfer is describing the New York of 80+ years ago, so contemporary did it sometimes feel to me. The blurb on the back implies it is a novel about early 20's N.Y., but this is rather inaccurate. My grasp of history is not good enough to be precise, but the story certainly spans a period of over twenty years, and only reaches the 20s in the third of ...more
the gift
090215: things this book made me think of: difficulty of representation of dialect (the book is easy to read but endlessly dialogue), of character sketches (there are so many, so varied), of plot represented by vignettes (like watching dancing routines in tenement windows from a passing elevated train), of trying to integrate, emulate, all the noise, confusion, of the chaotic modern city (in a determinedly modernist way), of how in our urban multiplicity it is not surprising some readers like im ...more
Maria Beltrami
Ho desiderato tanto leggere questo libro. Una voce nuova e diversa dalla generazione perduta. Una voce dall'America della generazione perduta. E in parte ne ho ricavato soddisfazione, perché Dos Passos è un mirabile cantore di una metropolitanità folle, fatta di un sottobosco di piccoli imbroglioni, ubriachi, attricette più o meno troie, gente che tira a campare e affaristi che vanno dalle stalle alle stelle e viceversa in un battito di ciglia. Solo in parte, perché, nonostante quella in mio pos ...more
C Mac
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Hello Everybody

been meaning to try
Manhattan Transfer
for about 20 years

Manhattan
told in a hundred or so very short stories
that connect,
don't connect
inter connect
and re connect
don't even try
to think of this as one story
its hundreds of plots
each with a life of its own
characters
come and go
some appear
never to be seen again
some appear to be seen fifty or more pages later

easy to lose track
where you are
but it's almost as if
it does not matter
open the book
to any page
find yourself
sucked in to a little s
...more
James Murphy
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A Babel of voices. The reality of a whole made from a myriad of parts. Using the many stories of a wide assortment of characters to make a portrait of New York City in the early years of the 20th century, its device of character snapshots to tell the story reminded me most of Camilo Jose Cela's novel The Hive, which does the same thing for Madrid. Not as ambitious as the USA Trilogy, but it is considered by some to be Dos Passos's greatest work.
Armin
Formal sicherlich ein Meisterwerk der Moderne, dem die Hörspielversion mit allerlei Effekten und Jazz- bzw. 20s AVantgarde gerecht werden wollte. Viele prominente Sprecher im Großstadtpanorama geben Charakteren Profil, die man samt und sonders nur nervig finden kann. Konnte keinen rechten Zugang zu niemand in diesem Kaleidodskop finden, etliche Lücken im Vergleich zum Roman tragen vielleicht auch dazu bei, dass vieles unmotiviert rüber kommt.
Sarah
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those disillusioned by Gatsby
"There are lives to be lived if only you didn't care."

I have to stop comparing books and authors (or at least stop doing it as superficially as I do) but I can't help it with this 1925 expressionist montage of many lives clinging to Manhattan, sinking or swimming, giving up, going on, changing their names, caring for all the wrong things (apparently), battered by luck and buffeted by economics, war and desire. The bottom line is (I think) the randomness of our lives, and how little New York care
...more
Andrés Cabrera
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Manhattan Transfer procura ser el relato de la vida de una ciudad: de su crecimiento, transformación y fluctuación. Para ello, la ciudad muestra sus tentáculos en las vidas que se cruzan y se disuelven, que juegan a la felicidad y se esmeran a dejarlo todo por cumplir cada uno de sus sueños; sueños que, dicho sea, se permiten en virtud de todo lo que una ciudad en crecimiento (como viene siendo Nueva York en la década de 1920). El relato es fragmentario y cruzado: cada personaje tiene una histor ...more
Cris
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En este libro no hay un protagonista claro (Nueva York, quizás) sino una miríada de voces que se entrelazan a través del tiempo y de las que somos testigos durante pequeñas ventanas abiertas. La estructura misma de la narración refleja a la perfección la vida frenética de la gran ciudad: los personajes pasan ante nuestros ojos una y otra vez, pero el número de ellos y la velocidad a la que ocurre todo nos deja confusos en más de una ocasión. Las constantes interrupciones del relato funcionan com ...more
Francesca
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avendo avuto la fortuna di visitare New York, percepisco alla perfezione come ogni pagina di questo libro riveli ancor oggi gli “splendori e miserie” di una città così multiforme e straordinaria che non si può non idolatrare, ma nemmeno non rimanerne inorriditi. Parole che si fanno odori, calore, luce, vetro, rumori…, trascinando con sé le esistenze umane più disparate, accomunate dall’accalcarsi febbrile nella “città che sale” (per dirla con Boccioni).
New York è l’inferno e il paradiso, è la te
...more
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Bright Young Things: June 2016- Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos 49 29 Jun 28, 2016 10:01AM  
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315 followers
John Roderigo Dos Passos was an American novelist and artist.

He received a first-class education at The Choate School, in Connecticut, in 1907, under the name John Roderigo Madison. Later, he traveled with his tutor on a tour through France, England, Italy, Greece and the Middle East to study classical art, architecture and literature.

In 1912 he attended Harvard University and, after graduating in
...more
“Do you know how long God took to destroy the Tower of Babel, folks? Seven minutes. Do you know how long the Lord God took to destroy Babylon and Nineveh? Seven minutes. There’s more wickedness in one block in New York City than there was in a square mile in Nineveh, and how long do you think the Lord God of Sabboath will take to destroy New York City and Brooklyn and the Bronx? Seven seconds. Seven Seconds.” 4 likes
“The terrible thing about having New York go stale on you is that there's nowhere else. It's the top of the world.” 4 likes
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