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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New York Times Literary Treat of the Week....

Doctorow, E.L. All the Time in the World: New and Selected Stories. Random House.

One wonders if an historical novelist lauded for nearly forty years can adapt his style to short fiction. Doctorow not only succeeds in this collection but provides reminders of his longer works. “Liner Notes: The Songs of Billy Bathgate” is a companion piece to the 1989 novel. The New Yorker magazine contribution “Heist” was later incorporated into City of God (2000). The Holocaust’s survivor’s powerful narrative in “Willi” can be compared to that in The Book of Daniel (1971). Doctorow also takes inspiration from Nathaniel Hawthorne by presenting “Wakefield” (also a Hawthorne story title) in which a lawyer for no given reason hides out from his family and civilization in a garage attic. Rounding out the set is “Assimilation,” where a busboy is forced by his corrupt boss into a green-card marriage; and “Walter John Harmon,” depicting a charismatic cult leader who supervises construction of a compound and then abandons everyone.

Also by E.L. Doctorow at Merrick Library:

Billy Bathgate
The Book of Daniel
City of God
Creationists: Selected Essays, 1993-2006
Homer and Langley
Lives of the Poets: Six Stories and a Novella
The March
Reporting the Universe
Sweet Land Stories
The Waterworks
World's Fair

Reviewed by Librarian, Bob.

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