Kristy's Reviews > Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer

Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser
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's review
Jun 01, 2010

liked it
Read in June, 2010

I don't know what to think of this book--it wasn't bad, or even flawed...but it wasn't great either. I loved the turn of the century period details. The amount of historic research that must have gone into this book is amazing. l also like the idea of a novel about a "dreamer" who pushes his success and efficiency to such fantastical limits (Dressler seeks to create cities within cities, combining museums, amusement parks, theaters, etc. within collossal, hotel-like structures that take up blocks of New York streets.) But there was something missing in this story that I can't quite put my finger on...I can't tell if it's a problem with the narrative or if it was done intentionally. The character of Martin Dressler is very unlikable and almost completely without emotion. He has no heart or soul--only his desire to succeed, to create the ultimate, transcendent building. His relationships with women play a big role in the novel, but they were totally baffling and rather unbelievable. I don't know. I didn't dislike it---it's a very entertaining, easy read, despite some rather long winded descriptions. But there's just something I'm not getting....did anyone else read this? Thoughts?

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