World's Fair

E.L. Doctorow

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World's Fair

World s Fair The astonishing novel of a young boy s life in the New York City of the s a stunning recreation of the sights sounds aromas and emotions of a time when the streets were safe families stuck tog

  • Title: World's Fair
  • Author: E.L. Doctorow
  • ISBN: 9780452275720
  • Page: 355
  • Format: Paperback
  • The astonishing novel of a young boy s life in the New York City of the 1930s, a stunning recreation of the sights, sounds, aromas and emotions of a time when the streets were safe, families stuck together through thick and thin, and all the promises of a generation culminate in a single great World s Fair .

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      Posted by:E.L. Doctorow
      Published :2018-06-18T17:29:18+00:00

    One thought on “World's Fair

    1. BlackOxford on said:

      Hope Is Where You Find ItDoctorow's World's Fair is, for me, an important document touching on family history. My mother was 11 years old when she visited Flushing Meadows in 1939 and it influenced her life as significantly as it did Doctorow's. Both he and his avatar 'Edgar' were two years younger than my mother. New York City was (and of course largely still is) a city of immigrants and the children of immigrants. In other words it is a place of constant dislocation and dissolution. It doesn't [...]

    2. Steve on said:

      I’m not sure what you’d call this (memoir? novel? cultural history book?), but whatever it is, it works. Young Edgar, bright and observant, describes Jewish family life as he knew it growing up in the Bronx in the 1930’s. E. L. Doctorow (E for Edgar) presumably didn’t stray far from his own experiences to write this. The boyhood sketches spanned the whole decade, ending the year of New York’s iconic Fair when Edgar was 9. It was told in a voice that combined a kid’s sense of wonder w [...]

    3. Vit Babenco on said:

      I believe World’s Fair is a literary reproduction by E. L. Doctorow of his own childhood – the novel is so compassionate and it is full of authentic feelings. “I imagined houses as superior beings who talked silently to each other.”Child’s imagination, child’s fantasies and memories of our childhood are all dear to us. And I suppose there is always some central recollection that remains with us during our entire life. “My father had predicted the Fair would be good for business. He [...]

    4. Connie on said:

      Adult Edgar Altschuler is looking back on his 1930s childhood with the wonder and fears of a young boy. The story is full of the sights and sounds during the Great Depression in New York City. In the background in their Jewish household radio reports tell about Hitler's advances. This is not a book with a lot of action, but it's a good character study of a boy growing up in that era. Although it is fiction, E.L. Doctorow incorporates events from his own childhood into the story.Two visits to the [...]

    5. Oscar on said:

      Esta es la historia de un niño, Edgar, y de una ciudad, Nueva York. ‘La feria del mundo’ transcurre en los años 30 en una Norteamérica azotada por la Gran Depresión, y la vivimos a través de la mirada de Edgar. Pero lejos de parecer un relato infantil, Doctorow nos regala una extraordinaria novela, con ciertos tintes autobiográficos, en la que resalta la calidad estilística del autor, su sencillez a la hora de narrar, y, sobre todo, ese mundo visto a través de los inocentes ojos de E [...]

    6. Chrissie on said:

      I wanted to like this more than I did. It is filled, filled, filled with accurate details of life in the Bronx during the 30s, ending in 1940 with the New York World's Fair. Everything is described, and all is well described - the news, the clothes, the food, new inventions, the street life, games, parks, Jewish traditions. This is a secular Jewish family. Seeing the Hindenburg airship was excitingly told to site just one fun episode. What you get is a million and one descriptions. The book ends [...]

    7. Will Byrnes on said:

      While I see considerable value in the book, I was not blown away by it. Edgar Altschuler, a stand in for Doctorow (Edgar Lawrence Doctorow), tells of his early family life and comes of age in the era just prior to World War II. Change is in the air, symbolized by the fair and occasional dark news from Europe. The family suffers from hard times as his father is not able to sustain a decent income, partly from the nature of the times, but also the result of a toxic gambling habit (and maybe other [...]

    8. Barbara on said:

      I loved this book. It is set in the Bronx of the 30s. My mother grew up there in those days and told me many stories about it. Reading about Morris High School (her alma mater), the Grand Concourse, Jerome Avenue, the automat, and more made it seem very special to me, although I haven't seen any of those places for nearly 50 years and then only once. It was kind of like City Boy: The Adventures of Herbie Bookbinder, a well-loved book of my youth, and Radio Days, one of my favorite films. Will pr [...]

    9. Andy Weston on said:

      Set during the 1930s this is the story of the boyhood of Edgar Altschuler growing up in the Bronx. It is wonderfully told and set against the backdrop of the Depression and the start of the Second War. The best books have memorable passages. When I look back to my favourites that is what stands out, and World’s Fair has plenty of them. These key passages for me are ones that resonate with my own childhood, albeit three or four years older than Edgar. Edgar’s appreciation of music comes from [...]

    10. Jennifer on said:

      hmmmis is going to sound lame-ass, but when a book is titled 'world's fair' and the fair in nyc is noted on the jacket copyyou kind of expect the world's fair to be an anchor in the story. it's not. not until nearly the very end of the book. so that was a bit weird for me.butE.L. DOCTOROW! there. i feel better getting that out of my systeme man is awesome-sauce. in reading this autobiographical story, i loved the interesting blend of memoir-type remembrances, (doctorow's first name is 'edgar', a [...]

    11. Janis on said:

      World’s Fair is the story of a Jewish boy growing up in New York in the ‘30s. It’s told in his voice, with occasional chapters written from the point of view of family members—as if the boy, now older, had questioned them about his childhood and family. There are dual forces at work here—present and future, freedom and restriction, mother and father, fact and fiction (for it seems that much of this book is autobiographical)--perhaps all represented by the Trylon and Perisphere sculptur [...]

    12. Mark on said:

      Nearly perfect coming of age story, set in NYC, during the 1930s, capping off with the World's Fair in '38. This looks to be based on Doctorow's early life.

    13. Roger DeBlanck on said:

      World’s Fair is a marvelous and heartwarming novel of a young boy’s coming of age. Taking place before the Second World War in Doctorow’s hometown of New York City, the book relives a quest for memory through the recollections of the young protagonist, simply referred to as Edgar. The novel captures the time period in all its momentousness and brings loveliness and compassion to the occurrences of everyday life. The story's energy and lyricism generate a magical feeling around the valuable [...]

    14. Adam Rabiner on said:

      Some readers have been frustrated by this book's lack of a strong plot or storyline along the lines of Billy Bathgate or Ragtime but what it lacks in this regard it makes up in other ways. The characters are to me more realistic than in his other more conventional novels. The family members' personalities and characteristics are captured vividly as are childhood memories, concerns, anxieties, fears, excitements, and play. The protagonist is a bright and engaging young boy and the narration is bo [...]

    15. Natalie on said:

      I read this book at the same time as Jane Smiley's upcoming novel Some Luck, which was an interesting experience. While Smiley's characters are given voices appropriate to their age (a child sees the world through a child's eyes), Doctorow's Edgar is looking back at his childhood and waxing philosophic. There are also a few odd chapters here and there told by other characters, as if written in a letter to Edgar. Interesting and unique story structure for an interesting and unique story. For a lo [...]

    16. Bob Redmond on said:

      From the jacket, and true: "World's Fair is better than a time capsule; it's an actual slice of a long-ago world, and we emerge from it as dazed as those visitors standing on the corner of the future." [--Anne Tyler]Yep Doctorow's craft is dated (uh, like Tolstoy is dated); to read it is to watch the literary equivalent of a furniture maker who doesn't use nails. The story, which won the National Book Award in 1986, takes you back to the late 1930's and fixes your gaze towards the present. "Like [...]

    17. Xenia Germeni on said:

      Μουσική, ήχοι της πόλης, εικόνες του χθες, όνειραμέσα σε μία υπέροχη περιγραφή !

    18. Harold Titus on said:

      E. L. Doctorow’s World’s Fair chronicles Edgar Altschuler’s recollections of his first ten years of existence, the growth of his childish awareness of the difficulties of life, and the personal handicaps placed on him as he attempts to acquire self-assurance and experience happiness. Edgar is a Jewish boy growing up in New York City’s Bronx during the rise of Nazism in Germany. His health is problematic. His family’s economic stability is tenuous. His parents’ relationship is combati [...]

    19. Lauren on said:

      3.75/5While this book was enjoyable overall, certain aspects yielded mixed feelings. My only other Doctorow novel prior to this was Ragtime, which easily secured a place among my favorite books of all time—intricate and gorgeously written. It was through this novel that I discovered Doctorow’s dazzling flair for historical fiction, for reimagining vivid panoramas of the past and immersing one in the sight, sounds, and smells of a bygone era. I can’t sing enough praises for that novel. So, [...]

    20. Robin Friedman on said:

      The late E.L. Doctorow's (1931 -- 2015) novel "World's Fair (1985) is a lyrical autobiographical story about growing up in the New York City during the Depression Most of the book is told in the first person by an adult, "Edgar", who reflects upon his childhood up to the age of about nine. The adult writer has also approached family members for their reminisces, and some chapters of the book are in the words of the boy's mother, Rose, brother, Donald, father, Dave, and his Aunt Frances.A beauty [...]

    21. Susan on said:

      Many thanks to Steve, who picked up this book at the 2009 Printer's Row Book Fair in Chicago. If not for his enthusiastic suggestion that I read it, I would have missed this simple but powerfully truthful story of a young Jewish kid growing up in the Bronx during the Depression. World's Fair is structured as a series of memories mostly recounted by Edgar, whom we first meet as a pre-schooler and last see as a fifth-grader who's sorted out some of life's questions and seems ready to take on a few [...]

    22. Sarah Coleman on said:

      This autobiographical novel is very evocative of New York in the 1930s. Compared to Doctorow's other novels like 'Ragtime' it could be considered small-scale, but it is so rich in detail and atmosphere that the scale hardly matters. The narrative is delivered by a grown man reflecting back on his childhood in a Jewish section of the Bronx in the 1930s. He captures both personal and political events with a child's sense of awe and half-understanding. There's certainly a lot going on, with the Dep [...]

    23. Relani on said:

      I love the juicy language and especially how Doctorow brings to life common childhood experiences, with all their mystery and confusion, in such rich and gratifying detail.

    24. Mike Zickar on said:

      A truly enjoyable book written with such a gentle eye of observation from the boy narrator. There really isn't a plot to this novel (I would classify this more as a memoir, though I have no idea how true it is to Doctorow's childhood), it is the chronicle of roughly the first 9 years of life for the narrator, a kid growing up in the South Bronx of the 1930s. This is written with such tenderness and attention to detail that it felt like I was reliving my own childhood, even though our paths were [...]

    25. Mike on said:

      World's Fair is a book which made this reader feel like he was holding a series of jewels up to his eye and reveling in the sheer loveliness of them. It's a novel that gives the sensations of discovery and enlightenment that the very earliest moments of literary awareness gave me in my youth. This is either a novel garbed in memoir, or a memoir viewed through the patina of a novel, but in either case, World's Fair is an incredibly moving and engaging book to read.

    26. Karin on said:

      3.5 starsIt's 1930s in the Bronx (NYC), and little Edgar lives with his family in an apartment in a house. It's the depression, but so far his dad's store is in business. His much older brother is patient with him, and his grandmother, struggling with Alzheimer's, lives with them. As he is growing up, there is The World's Fair, which he sets his sites on going to, but in the meantime he lives in (shocking, I know) a dysfunctional family that he doesn't really understand at his age. Here and ther [...]

    27. Abeer Hoque on said:

      It was only recently that I gave myself permission to stop reading a book when I wasn't enjoying it. I didn't find "World's Fair" Mr. Doctorow's "most accomplished work to date" (NYT), "something close to magic" (LA Times), "immediately a classic" (Publishers Weekly) His novel "Ragtime" which I read last year was fantastic - scintillating and sharp and racing. "World's Fair" was meticulously detailed, wide eyed and full of wonder, and inside the mind and heart of a small boy in early 20th centur [...]

    28. Rita on said:

      1985Really good book. I can even imagine wanting to read it again. The only parts I skipped were where he goes on and on about some comic action hero, things like that.Good 2011 review of it in The Guardian by Tom Cox,guardian/books/serie[as you might expect, only 2 of the 10 books Cox reviews are by womengh]New York 1930s from persp. of kid 4 to 10 yrs old, mostly secular Jewish family, 2nd gen. E Europe. Sold as a novel, but surely it is mostly autobiogr? He calls the kid Edgar, his own name. [...]

    29. Melinda on said:

      Meh. What's to like? Maybe the chapters at the end about the kid's actual visit to the fair with his young girlfriend, although I found it creepy that he watches the girl's mother do an erotic act with a mechanical octopus. Other than that bit of bluster, nothing much happens. I was puzzled by some of "young Edgar's" vocabulary; I had to read some sentences twice and still wasn't sure what Doctorow was getting at. And they don't teach about comma splices in the Bronx? Also, the sections narrated [...]

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