Like others, I was sad to hear of the recent death of E.L. Doctorow. Ragtime, the book, the movie (which he apparently didn’t like) and the musical (also not his favorite) are all important to me, each for its own reasons. I thought The March and World’s Fair were okay and could not get into Homer & Langley. Instead of going back, I reached for this one, by all accounts Doctorow’s final novel.
It’s definitely not the historical fiction I think Doctorow is most known for. It’s meditative, perhaps personal, at times obscure. That it was his last adds a tinge of sadness, perhaps only because of the knowledge of his death, perhaps because this one seems to include a touch of the autobiographical.
Though I was amused by and sympathetic to the comments on an unnamed American president who did not do well at Yale, that whole section seemed to belong more to the author than to the story.
So The Book of Daniel is next. And then Ragtime.