The Great Gatsby, the book and the movie raised my awareness of another pre- Great Depression Era based novel, Ragtime, by E.L.Doctorow. Written in 1974, long after F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby, Doctorow authored this wonderful novel that with great energy combines reality and fiction , historical figures and imaginary role players, painting a potent landscape of society and social change just before the great war. Doctorow’s images of place and the developing social issues of the decade resonate to this day. The read is total narrative, no dialogue.
Think of this. J.P. Morgan, Harry Houdini, Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, Booker T. Washington, Sanford White, Harry Thaw, Evelyn Nesbit established in their historical stations, interact with Doctorow’s fictional creations of ragtime pianist Coalhouse Walker, Jr., Tateh, an immigrant Jewish peddler, Sarah, a black single mother, and an affluent and typical suburban American Family living in the comfort of New Rochelle, New York. Doctorow blends this cross-section of humanity in a wildly thrilling story, set in Westchester and Manhattan during the period just prior to World War I
E.L. Doctorow has written a long list of outstanding works including Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel and The March. All are most deserving of their many honors and outstanding reviews. It is always a good idea to check back in with authors whom you have enjoyed. In Doctorow’s case the list is full of great choices.