Billy Bathgate (1989)
National Book Critics' Circle Award (1989)
Billy Bathgate is a young street urchin who attaches himself to Dutch Schultz and his mob & proceeds to narrate Dutch's decline and fall.
I didn't think this one was up to the standard that Doctorow has set in books like Ragtime (see Review) & Waterworks. For one thing, mobsters have been done to death. But more significantly, fiction with the arc of tragedy requires a tragic figure--here, we never like Dutch enough to care that he gets his comeuppance.
-ESSAY: W.G. Sebald: The modern novel's master strategist (E.L. Doctorow, March 23, 2003, LA Times)
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