Literary Award Winners Fiction Book Club discussion

Billy Bathgate
This topic is about Billy Bathgate
Past Reads > Billy Bathgate (Chs 11 to 20)

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message 1: by Janine (new)

Janine | 100 comments Mod
Please discuss the second half of Billy Bathgate here.

message 2: by Mary (last edited Jun 17, 2016 09:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary (maryingilbert) | 67 comments There were some parts of the novel that were "laugh out loud" -- the section where Dutch Schultz and gang lived in the small town for a year, prior to his trial. He was something of the "philantropist" and all the jurors from the town found him "innocent" at trial. Of course he was not a true benevolent philantropist, because his charitable acts were motivated by his own self-interest.

George (georgejazz) | 455 comments Mod
This historical fiction novel is full of plot twists right up until the end. of the book. It is an enjoyable read. The sentences tend to be a long, but are well constructed. As a reader you gain an understanding of life in the 1930s in the Dutch Schultz gang in New York City, from the perspective of a 15 year old boy who sees life in the gang as a step up from his impoverished background. The story is based on German Jewish American mobster, Dutch Schultz who made his fortune in organised crime, mainly bootlegging and the numbers racket. I will certainly be reading more Doctorow novels.

Irene | 522 comments I finished last night. I wish I had known that Billy is telling this story as a much older man with a college education. There is so much immediacy in the tone that I thought it was beinging narrated proximate to the events. I was distracted by the vocabulary and sentence structure that did not match a 15 year old impoverished young boy. Except for that bit of distraction, I enjoyed the novel.

Penny | 17 comments I really enjoyed the sentence structure and somehow didn't equate it with Billy's voice at all, just as a stylistic thing. Actually after having recently read a couple really bad contemporary novels, it was a pleasure to read some well made long sentences with big words. The plot was almost secondary to the quality of the writing for me.

Irene | 522 comments Yes, the quality of the writing is fantastic. But I am not as good about separating character from voice if the first person is used. Maybe that is a limitation on my part.

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