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Manhattan Transfer (1925)

by John Dos Passos

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,865227,050 (3.79)87
A colourful, multi-faceted chronicle of New York in the early 1920s, Manhattan Transferranks with Joyce's Ulyssesas a powerful and often lyrical meditation on the modern city. Using experimental montage and collage techniques borrowed from the cinema, and the jumbled case histories of a picaresque range of characters from dockside crapshooters to high-society flappers, Dos Passos constructs a brilliant picture of New York City as a great futuristic machine filled with motion, drama and human tragedy.… (more)
  1. 20
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (lucybrown)
    lucybrown: Both deal with the quest to be part of the American Dream. Both deal with corruption and innocence. And both have a unique rhythm and lyricism which captures well the time and place.
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» See also 87 mentions

English (14)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Man versteht, wieso es ein solcher Klassiker ist, literarisch sicherlich eine Revolution und auch sprachlich herausragend. Leider habe ich nie einen Zugang zum Buch gefunden, weil ich weder einer der Handlungen, noch einem der Charaktere wirklich etwas abgewinnen konnte und das Collagenhafte des Buches es dem*der Leser*in auch wirklich nicht einfach macht. Vielleicht etwas, das man mit entsprechender Begleitung mehr genießen kann. ( )
  sirlaughalot | Feb 19, 2021 |
Hustle and bustle of the Big City

New York a the start of the twentieth century. Several stories interwoven demonstrate the chaos of city life. Characters range from rich, former rich, and poor. A great mix reflecting the city at the time. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos is a book that perfectly encapsulates 1920s New York City. Rather than following one character, it jumps from one character to another. People of different backgrounds and social standings all trying to make it in the big city are lumped together in a melting pot of large proportions. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
Modernist American novel from the 1920s with socialist / anarchist sympathies. What's not to like? ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Manhattan Transfer is a portrait of New York City made of words. We are introduced to a dozen or so characters whose lives become more and more intertwined as time goes on. The action takes place immediately before, during, and after World War I.

The first third of this book was stunning. Dos Passos's descriptions of the city are so rich and vivid that I wanted to savor each one before moving on to the next. The pictures he paints aren't pretty at all; in fact, they're extremely harsh, but that was what life was like in the squalid tenements of the city at the turn of the century. As the novel progressed, however, and more and more characters whose storylines had been separate started interacting with each other, I started having trouble remembering who was who. I like the technique of bringing everyone together, but there needed to be fewer characters for it to work for me. Also, the negativity and harshness of everyone's lives got harder to take because there was nothing good that happened to anybody. By the last third of the book, although the descriptions were still poetic, I was tired of the harshness and unable to keep the characters straight, and I was glad to be done with it. This is a book that really needs to be read slowly and patiently. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
To me, Manhattan Transfer is the best modern book about New York that I have read. It is an endless series of glimpses of people in the vast scuffle of Manhattan Island, as they turn up again and again and again, in a confusion that has no obvious rhythm, but wherein at last we recognize the systole-diastole of success and failure, the end being all failure, from the point of view of life; and then another flight towards another nowhere...

The scenes whirl past like snowflakes. Broadway at night — whizz! gone! — a quick-lunch counter! gone! — a house on Riverside Drive, the Palisades, night — gone! But, gradually, you get to know the faces. It is like a movie picture with an intricacy of different stories and no close-ups and no writing in between. Mr. Dos Passos leaves out the writing in between.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Bookman, D. H. Lawrence
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dos Passos, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bech, ClausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Golüke, GuidoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robles Pazos, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Three gulls wheel above the broken boxes, orangerinds, spoiled cabbage heads that heave between the splintered plank walls, the green waves spume under the round bow as the ferry, skidding on the tide, crashes, gulps the broken water, slides, settles slowly into the slip.
Quotations
Let's have another rye Charley. That's the stuff to make a man of you. I been laying off it too much, that's what's the matter with me. You wouldn't think it to look at me now, would you friend, but they used to call me the Wizard of Wall Street which is another illustration of the peculiar predominance of luck in human affairs.
He lay on his back on top of the sheet. There came on the air through the window a sourness of garbage, a smell of burnt gasoline and traffic and dusty pavements, a huddled stuffiness of pigeonhole rooms where men and women's bodies writhed alone tortured by the night and the young summer. He lay with seared eyeballs staring at the ceiling, his body glowed in a brittle shivering agony like redhot metal.
You understand them things Mr 'Erf. but a feller like you, good education, all 'at, you don't know what life is. When I was seventeen I come to New York... no good. I tink of notten but raising Cain. Den I shipped out again and went everywhere to hell an gone. In Shangai I learned spik American an tend bar. I come back to Frisco an got married. Now I want to be American. But unlucky again see? Before I marry zat girl her and me lived togedder a year sweet as pie, but when we get married no good. She make fun of me and call me Frenchy because I no spik American good and den she kick no out of the house an I tell her go to hell. Funny thin a man's life.
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A colourful, multi-faceted chronicle of New York in the early 1920s, Manhattan Transferranks with Joyce's Ulyssesas a powerful and often lyrical meditation on the modern city. Using experimental montage and collage techniques borrowed from the cinema, and the jumbled case histories of a picaresque range of characters from dockside crapshooters to high-society flappers, Dos Passos constructs a brilliant picture of New York City as a great futuristic machine filled with motion, drama and human tragedy.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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