Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
My hero: EL Doctorow by Michael Schmidt
If there was a Great American Novel it would be Doctorow’s Ragtime, that melting pot of historical presences and common people
Edgar Lawrence Doctorow’s relation to the American novel was radical, contrary and corrective. He respected his readers, and was a literal-minded, unillusioned patriot at odds with those who exploit patriotism. If there was a Great American Novel it would be Ragtime (1975), that melting pot of historical presences and common people, from Emma Goldman to JP Morgan, Henry Ford to Theodore Dreiser, the jazz trumpeter to the disenfranchised worker, resurrected with all their bodily functions functioning, in a world so vividly imagined that it breathes something more than oxygen back into their lungs. More