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Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos

Manhattan Transfer (original 1927; edition 1980)

by John Dos Passos, José Robles Pazos (Translator)

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2,153287,387 (3.8)106
Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. HTML:

Considered by many to be John Dos Passos's greatest work, Manhattan Transfer is an "expressionistic picture of New York" (New York Times) in the 1920s that reveals the lives of wealthy power brokers and struggling immigrants alike.

Title:Manhattan Transfer
Authors:John Dos Passos
Other authors:José Robles Pazos (Translator)
Info:Barcelona : Bruguera, 1980
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos (1927)

  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 106 mentions

English (19)  Spanish (3)  Italian (3)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
I alternated between being drawn in and bored by this glimpse into a part of New York in the twenties. Much of the writing is absolutely gorgeous--Dos Passos is a brilliant imagist and the book drips with shimmering sentences. The most interesting part for more was seeing an earlier version of his unique style that he put to such powerful use in the U.S.A. trilogy [b:U.S.A.: The 42nd Parallel / 1919 / The Big Money|261441|U.S.A. The 42nd Parallel / 1919 / The Big Money|John Dos Passos|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1309200622l/261441._SY75_.jpg|6503267]. I've recommended this work to so many people and would definitely start and maybe even end there. ( )
  lschiff | Sep 24, 2023 |
Reason Read: Reading 1001 botm September 2023, TIOLI #9
This book was published in 1925 and covers the time period of the Gilded age to the Jazz age in New York City. It is a series of overlapping individual stories and narrative collage (These works tell visual stories of individuals, businesses, organizations and communities. They are bold, personalized forms of visual communication, identity and storytelling.) John Dos Passos was an American socialist novelist and in this work he is showing New York to be a city in motion; there are ships, trains, buses, taxicabs. On importance is the Manhattan transfer which stands for people who are just passing through. Architectures include the skyscrapers and the bridge, Broadway and Wall street.

Themes also include youth and wealth. A person needs to look good, to be young to survive in New York. Another is the wealthy capitalist and the trade unions. Interestingly, the press is a symbol of distrust. One character is a radical journalist and another one wants to be a reporter. He is unable to get his articles published because they don't fit the mainstream idea. Some things don't change. The implication that the media is blamed by a judge as emboldening burglars. Some things don't change I guess.

There are 4 main characters and several secondary characters; Ellen Thatcher a successful actress, several marriages/divorces. Bud Korpenning; farmer roots unable to make it in the city. George Baldwin; young lawyer makes a successful law suit thant benefits Gus the milkman. Jimmy Herf, his mother dies, he has money and can go to school and go into business but chooses instead to enlist and also be a reporter. ( )
  Kristelh | Sep 12, 2023 |
I got less from this book than I expercted. There are many critical reviews due to the numerous characters and the bare development of many of them. I was interested to learn about New York City and the liberal views of many. The difficulties experienced by so many saddened me. I also noticed that Jews had an especially difficult time and many of the worse characters had Jewsih names. I don't know the history to know if that was based on fact. I did care about many of the characters. This occurred mainly in the late 1800's to the beginning of World War II. ( )
  suesbooks | Jun 14, 2023 |
A new favorite author. I love this guy's writing style. His descriptions are visceral. You see the colors, smell the smells, feel the mood. I wanted to be there, to meet these people. Fantastic read. ( )
  btbell_lt | Aug 1, 2022 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (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.
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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Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. HTML:

Considered by many to be John Dos Passos's greatest work, Manhattan Transfer is an "expressionistic picture of New York" (New York Times) in the 1920s that reveals the lives of wealthy power brokers and struggling immigrants alike.


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