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World's Fair (1985)

by E. L. Doctorow

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2873214,952 (3.8)84
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:Winner of the National Book Award • “Marvelous . . . You get lost in World’s Fair as if it were an exotic adventure. You devour it with the avidity usually provoked by a suspense thriller.”—The New York Times

/> Hailed by critics from coast to coast and by readers of all ages, this resonant novel is one of E.L. Doctorow’s greatest works of fiction. It is 1939, and even as the rumbles of progress are being felt worldwide, New York City clings to remnants of the past, with horse-drawn wagons, street peddlers, and hurdy-gurdy men still toiling in its streets. For nine-year-old Edgar Altschuler, life is stoopball and radio serials, idolizing Joe DiMaggio, and enduring the conflicts between his realist mother and his dreamer of a father. The forthcoming Word’s Fair beckons, an amazing vision of American automation, inventiveness, and prosperity—and Edgar Altschuler responds.
A marvelous work from a master storyteller, World’s Fair is a book about a boy who must surrender his innocence to come of age, and a generation that must survive great hardship to reach its future.
Praise for World’s Fair

“Something close to magic.”—Los Angeles Times

“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

“Doctorow has managed to regain the awed perspective of a child in this novel of rare warmth and intimacy. . . . Stony indeed in the heart that cannot be moved by this book.”—People

“Fascinating . . . exquisitely rendered details of a lost way of life.”—Newsweek

“Wonderful reading.”—USA Today.… (more)
  1. 00
    My Ántonia by Willa Cather (k8_not_kate)
    k8_not_kate: Recalls a specific time in America vividly; deals with childhood memories and relationships.
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» See also 84 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Now that I've decided to try to 'review' each book that I have cataloged, there will be books( like this one) where I may recall reading it some years ago, may or may not remember how or why I liked it, but still can recall only a few or maybe no details about the experience. ( )
  mykl-s | Jul 25, 2023 |
I appreciated learning about the hardships faced by Doctorow and the Altschulers in the 1930's. Their many hardships were real, and hope was necessary to survive. I was bored by the repetition and poor communication between characters. A concise book would have had a greater effect. Unfortunately, this book is also very relevant today. ( )
  suesbooks | Mar 3, 2023 |
This book takes the reader back in time to 1939 New York City, where protagonist and primary narrator Edgar, a ten-year-old boy, is growing up in the Bronx. It is the story of his Jewish family, and their many challenges. It is occasionally narrated by another family member (to provide an adult perspective). The writing is top rate and the period is beautifully depicted by an author who lived through it. This book represents historical fiction at its finest. ( )
  Castlelass | Feb 8, 2023 |
Read like a book required for high school. It was interesting but excessive. If it was edited down to a short story, it would have been just as interesting. I felt it ended with a lot of loose ends. Subplots were brought up and never resolved. For example, the parents comment on knowing something about Meg’s father but the reader never finds out what it is. In general, it is an ok book but not a great one. ( )
  NixieH | Mar 24, 2022 |
fascinating historical snapshot of NYC
  flemertown | Jul 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
A beautiful piece of work, and, in my opinion, along with Lives of the Poets, one of Doctorow’s best.
 
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A raree-show is here, With children gathered round...WORDSWORTH The Prelude
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For R.P.D.
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Rose: I was born on Clinton Street in the Lower East Side.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:Winner of the National Book Award • “Marvelous . . . You get lost in World’s Fair as if it were an exotic adventure. You devour it with the avidity usually provoked by a suspense thriller.”—The New York Times

Hailed by critics from coast to coast and by readers of all ages, this resonant novel is one of E.L. Doctorow’s greatest works of fiction. It is 1939, and even as the rumbles of progress are being felt worldwide, New York City clings to remnants of the past, with horse-drawn wagons, street peddlers, and hurdy-gurdy men still toiling in its streets. For nine-year-old Edgar Altschuler, life is stoopball and radio serials, idolizing Joe DiMaggio, and enduring the conflicts between his realist mother and his dreamer of a father. The forthcoming Word’s Fair beckons, an amazing vision of American automation, inventiveness, and prosperity—and Edgar Altschuler responds.
A marvelous work from a master storyteller, World’s Fair is a book about a boy who must surrender his innocence to come of age, and a generation that must survive great hardship to reach its future.
Praise for World’s Fair

“Something close to magic.”—Los Angeles Times

“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

“Doctorow has managed to regain the awed perspective of a child in this novel of rare warmth and intimacy. . . . Stony indeed in the heart that cannot be moved by this book.”—People

“Fascinating . . . exquisitely rendered details of a lost way of life.”—Newsweek

“Wonderful reading.”—USA Today.

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