➲ [Read] ➭ Billy Bathgate By E.L. Doctorow ➽ – Motyourdrive.co.uk


15 thoughts on “Billy Bathgate

  1. says:

    This picaresque novel about Bronx born Billy Bathgate Behan, a street urchin and errand boy for the Dutch Schulz mob, memorably evokes the tough urban streets of the early 30 s, but its principal achievement is the voice of the first person narrator, Billy Bathgate himself.Like his literary ancestor Huckleberry Finn, Billy speaks naturally, with colloquial snap and humor He describes his streets and adventures in the way that an intelligent boy of his age would see them, and he soon convinces the reader both of the believability of his character and of his reliability as a narrator Once Doctorow has successfully created this illusion, however, he manipulates the narrative voice and our perceptions of it in a remarkably ambitious way At the end of a crucial chapter, Billy s sentence structure will become complicated, his metaphors sophisticated, but Doctorow s alters them so subtly, he keeps the language so completely in character, that we soon come to realize we are listening to a reflective, older Billy commenting on his childhood memories Doctorow never has to tell us this he does it all with a slight shift of style.Another virtue of the book something all good gangster novels should have is vivid, gritty scenes of sex and violence As anyone who has ever tried knows, writing about sex and violence is difficult All too easily it can slip into the clinical, the mechanical, until soon every scene sounds the same In Doctorow s hands, however, each description is unique, and carries with it a distinct thrill Whether it be two young bodies writhing in the mud of a country field, a skull kicked to pieces on a barroom floor, or feet placed in cement on a gangsters yacht, we smell the odors, we taste the sweat and the blood, we feel the mud ooze the cement harden between our toes.The only thing I didn t like about the book was the ending Doctorow wished for a conclusion of classic circularity to end on the same street and with the same sort of description with which he began He granted himself his authorial wish, but in my opinion he had to do violence to the shape of the book to make such a neat ending possible But this is only a minor irritant, and does not detract from the vividness and power of the book.


  2. says:

    Updated 1 8 17 After having recently binge watched the last couple seasons of Boardwalk Empire, I was in the mood for some 1920s 30s gangster action, and Billy Bathgate scratched that itch nicely It s of a coming of age story as opposed to straight up mobster violence and crime, though there s plenty of that as well Dutch Schultz, a real life bootlegger and numbers runner who controls the entire Bronx, is pretty much a maniac, and I m disappointed that he was barely mentioned in Boardwalk He seemed like a fascinating person, and now I m interested in reading about him, as well as his accountant, math genius Abbadabba Berman, who helped Schultz with the numbers racket.But the story here is about and narrated by fictional young Billy, who grew up poor in the Bronx until one day Schultz, a local hero to many, took notice of Billy juggling in front of one of his warehouses and called him a capable boy, which basically awed and changed Billy to the point that his entire goal in life was to be close to Dutch and his crew That was the big time The story did sag a bit in places, with a bit too much detail on young Billy s home life, but overall this was one of the best and most beautifully written pieces of historical fiction I ve read, with shocking bursts of violence that can erupt from Schultz at any moment Doctorow s a skilled wordsmith, to the point that at times I was entirely absorbed into the story, really seeing and feeling what it was like to live in the Bronx in the 30s Now I m eager to read Doctorow.4.0 Stars.


  3. says:

    Only one other writer in my mind can spin out such golden tresses, long sumptuous sentences that runonandon imbue an actual soul, a literary ghost that moves on and on that s Latin America s Gabriel Garcia Marquez.Billy Bathgate is one Outstanding F g Read E L Doctorow gives us another story for us lots of future readers to savor He is clearly in the good company of E Leonard M Puzo This is virtuoso storytelling like a movie, as cinematic, but better , and even the myriad minute never mundane details of this gangsterland are always of interest Billy, a Dickensian creation smack dab in Depression Era Bronx, lives the in and outs of the harmonies of gang life 186 The novel is a Fairy Tale written for Men although women will love it too a mafia saga with heart brains Which we shall see spilled


  4. says:

    189 Billy Bathgate, E.L DoctorowBilly Bathgate is a 1989 novel by author E L Doctorow that won the 1989 National Book Critics Circle award for fiction for 1990, the 1990 PEN Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 1990 William Dean Howells Medal, and was the runner up for the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and the 1989 National Book Award The story is told in the first person by Billy Bathgate Behan, a fifteen year old boy who first becomes the gofer and then surrogate son of mobster Dutch Schultz A 1991 film based on the novel starred Loren Dean as Billy, Dustin Hoffman as Schultz, Steven Hill as Otto Berman, Nicole Kidman as Drew, and Bruce Willis as Bo 1999 1377 1386 464 9789644310782 1396 398 9786008582250 20 1930


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  8. says:

    The simple truth is no one writes Historical Fiction like Doctorow does Like Ragtime, like Book of Daniel, like Homer Langley, Billy Bathgate is an awesome read that not only tells an individual story, but captures an era so well you are helpless but to be drawn wholly into the romanticism of that era This is a coming of age story, but unlike most stories like that, Billy Bathgate is presented to us in one of the most moving narrative voices ever to grace that niche Billy, for all his intuition and precociousness is someone we not empathize with but romanticize with His thoughts, his actions, his motivations might be juvenile, but they draw us to his side with notions that defeat mere empathy but allow us the attraction to the gangstar and crime noir life.Despite the grim portrayals of gangstar life, and all we think we know of criminal enterprises, we can t help but root for Dutch Schultz and his ragtag crew To me, that is the mark of genius, that subtle seduction with words that makes it okay to root for the bad guy.This was an awesome book Read it for the voice, for the sparse, but well timed anecdotes, and above all for the humanity.


  9. says:

    My first misfire since I came home in November.Huge run on sentences, extensive description, and I m outta here.There are only two humans on earth who should be able to bend the rules of the English language to tell their story Cormac McCarthy and James Ellroy I realize Doctorow came well before these authors, so I can understand why some people may have a soft spot for him Not me.This same plotline of boy meets mafia was done much better in Nicholas Pileggi s Wiseguy, which later became the basis for the movie Goodfellas Stick to that one.


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  11. says:

    Doctorow is such a master wordsmith His vocabulary is impressive, his turn of phrase striking, the cadence in his character s voices is captivating This is Billy s story of his attempt to escape his impoverished tenement neighborhood in the 1930s by affiliation with a well known gang of mobsters This runs from funny to morbid, from tender to cruel with amazing agility I enjoyed this book My only problem was that Billy s narrative voice was too sophisticated for a minimally educated 15 year old It is not until the final chapter that we learn that Billy is relating this story as an adult with many experiences that would have shaped his voice.


  12. says:

    This is not a book I would have chosen to read on my own, even though I enjoy historical fiction and coming of age stories I m just not that interested in gangsters or reading about what I imagined would be a lot of graphic violence But since my book club wanted to read this book to honor the author who passed away earlier this year, I joined in And to my amazement, I became fascinated with gangster life and the hierarchy within it And I had no problem with the violence which was even less prevalent and graphic than what I ve found in some of the criminal mysteries I ve read Instead, I encountered a different problem I never anticipated, concerning the style of writing I nearly stopped reading the book because of it as early as page twenty five But I persevered and took one for the book club, which I m glad I did, even though this book was far from an ideal reading experience for me The story takes place during the summer of 1935 and is told in first person by a young man, fifteen years of age, named Billy Bathgate He tells the story from a time, somewhere in the future, when he s an adult, looking back on a handful of months that changed his life and the lives of those he encountered when joining the Dutch Schultz gang Billy lives with his addled mother in a poverty stricken area in the Bronx which he defiantly considers his home, even going so far as to take for his name the name of one of the streets in the area Bathgate Avenue His father skipped out on the family early on, so Billy never had a male figure to look up to other than the most unsavory of characters, Dutch Shultz, whom he admired from afar during beer drops in the area Billy knows that this gangster who made good for himself came from the Bronx, just like Billy, so maybe Billy can make something of himself, too He feels he can do this by joining Schultz s gang, if only he can devise a way to gain entrance to it And he succeeds, following an audacious plan that took the nerve of ten men twice his size The narrative proceeds as Billy learns from the inside out what gangster life is all about, most of it far from glamorous and very dangerous At this point in time, Dutch Schultz was in hiding from the Feds who wanted him arrested for tax evasion, an ironic crime to punish him for, considering the amount of murders he was responsible for Billy s role in the gang gradually becomes important as Shultz, on the lam, needs a pair of legs to run errands, and a seemingly innocent and unknown set of eyes and ears to report back any intelligence gained on assignments But with his added responsibilities and his exposure to the weaknesses of people he idolizes, Billy comes to some conclusions about this indentured life he s signed up for, a life a person can t leave while he s still alive He finds himself torn between allegiance to a despicable man he alternately admires and hates, and allegiance to himself This leads to certain decisions that will alter the course of the lives of everyone, both innocent and guilty So what are the pluses of this book First off, the story was rich in historical detail, the author expertly building that world to the point where I never slipped out of that time period when reading about it I felt I was living there, with the author using all his senses when writing to bring the sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes of East Coast gangster life to life The author even made poverty seem romantic and dignified, while building a landscape of the inner city upon a crumbling foundation of the people of the neighborhood And as far as historical accuracy goes, the story followed much of what happened in real life to Dutch Shultz and his associates, only veering from the truth when necessary for the sake of good fiction I know this because I kept looking up facts about the various characters as the story progressed Which leads me to another plus of this book the rich characterization of the people in it, both fictional and real Billy, a fictional character, observes everything and everyone, analyzing it all down to the last molecule Everyone s motivations, passions, dreams, needs both apparent and hidden are given plenty of page time, making the people into individuals and not simply stereotypes And the fact that a number of the characters are unpredictable brings real tension to the story, making the reader wonder how tightly Schultz, for example, can get wound up before he snaps, which is a real danger because when he snaps, people have a tendency to die So now for the minuses The wonderful characterizations aside, the people in this book with blood on their hands were, for the most part, bloodless as observed from Billy s perspective His analytical mind never allowed me to feel anything for them or feel anything coming from them, which effectively estranged me from those characters Same goes for Billy who professes to feel things, but from a distance, as if his emotions were objects on display to either be admired or disdained Which brings me to another minus Billy s analysis of everything during the narrative leaves no room for the reader to think or feel for himself The author sits the reader down to be told a story from the main character s viewpoint, and the reader is to listen and not think The reader is never invited into the story to imagine or feel All the work is done for him, laid out and predigested by Billy For me to rate a book higher than average, I need to participate in the story and have my emotions or imagination engaged It s just my bias And now for the last minus the style and construction of the writing The writing style is aggressive and intrusive, and nearly manic I believe the author chose to write the book as he did because this is Billy s voice the reader is hearing as he reads the book, and Billy is a person with a lot on his mind His mouth can barely keep up with the thoughts streaming out of it, so they exit in one long stream before he forgets a thing he wants to say This leads to many of the sentences being extremely long and constructed of multiple sentences joined by commas, conjunctions and whatever other tricks of punctuation and grammar the author can manage to include to avoid the inevitable period coming thirteen lines later on the page Reading these sentences, I was often breathless I felt I was drowning in words which I admired, but couldn t help resenting as they suffocated me Eventually, I grew used to the prose much as someone who practices holding his breath underwater gets better at it over time Now if you think I m exaggerating about the length of the sentences, here s an example of what I m talking about Read it and imagine this happening, sentence after sentence, page after page, throughout the entire book Not every sentence, but enough of them to challenge my decision to continue reading this book Now take a deep breath and read this beautifully descriptive sentence which took up eleven lines on the printed page To tell the truth I loved this time, I sensed my time was coming, and it had to do with the autumn, the city in its final serious turn toward the winter, the light was different, brilliant, hard, it tensed the air, burnished the top deck of the Number Six double decker bus with a cold brilliant light, I made a stately ride in anticipation of death, crowds welled in the corners under the bronze streetlamps with the little Mercuries, police whistles blew, horns blew, the tall bus lurched from gear to gear, flags flew from the stores and hotels, and it was all for me, my triumphal procession, I reveled in the city he couldn t enter, for a minute or two it was mine to do with what I would Now here s another sentence picked at random All I had to so was turn the page and point my finger to land on another of these examples And then one day, I remember it was particularly steamy, so hot in July that the weeds along the spear fence pointed to the ground and visible heat waves rose from the cobblestone, all the boys were sitting in an indolent row along the warehouse wall and I stood across the narrow street in the weeds and rocks overlooking the tracks and demonstrated my latest accomplishment, the juggling of a set of objects of unequal weight, a Galilean maneuver involving two rubber balls, a navel orange, an egg, and a black stone, wherein the art of the thing is in creating a flow nevertheless, maintaining the apogee from a kind of rhythm of compensating throws, and it is a trick of such consummate discipline that the better it is done the easier and less remarkable it looks to the uninitiated Whew So this is what I m talking about Eventually, I gave up fighting against the tide to ride the wave of words and try not to drown in them Should you decide to read this book, be prepared to be dazzled and dazed and dumbfounded by the writing which the author used to his advantage to the disadvantage of the story The writing took center stage, using Billy as a mouthpiece Maybe others will see the writing differently, as an extraordinary accomplishment which it was, but I d rather that an author focus on the characters and let the writing tell the story, not become the story Still, I m glad I read this book for all the pluses It s an example of historical fiction at its best, the characters being memorable, as was the style of manic writing When I came to the last sentence in the book and saw it ended on page 323, I could have sworn I d read twice as many pages to contain all those words.


  13. says:

    Too much words, most don t fitIf you ve seen the movie, you can save time for a better book Billy Bathgate is one of the rare cases in which the movie is far superior over the book Far too much reflection in words a fifteen year old streat guy would never use, even fifty years later.Doctorows storytelling is awkward, he takes a lot of words and oftly misses the point, his style is anything but visual and for that reason a 118 Minutes Movie tells the complete story, there are no hidden secrets in the book Of course Dustin Hoffman is far too elegant for Dutch Schultz, but it was no problem to develop my own pictures while reading it.Zu viele Worte, vor allem zu viele gesucht klingende aber selten treffende Metaphern sind der Ruin der Glaubw rdigkeitBei vielen Literarturverfilmungen ist die Entt uschung gro , wenn man das Buch vorher gelesen hat und so viele Lieblingsstellen und eigentlich unerl ssliche Motivationen vermissen muss Liest man das Buch hinterher, folgt in einigen F llen die Aufkl rung f r den einen oder anderen Logiksprung, mit der nachgelieferten Motivation sieht man auch den Film mit anderen Augen Mal zum Vorteil oder auch Nachteil.Mir ist bislang kein Buch untergekommen, das so viel schlechter als die Verfilmung war, vor allem wortreicher auf den 420 Seiten der Vorlage kommt kaum etwas vor, was nicht besser im Film dargestellt worden w re Als Drehbuchautor war Tom Stoppard wohl ein Genie Allerdings macht die beraus umst ndliche und berfrachtete Erz hlweise Doctorows das K rzen auf das Wesentliche zum Kinderspiel Am meisten nervt die berfrachtete Sprache, die nicht zum geringsten zu einem Gassenjungen aus der Bronx passt auch wenn die Erinnerungen an jenes entscheidende Jahr Jahrzehnte sp ter von einem reichen und angesehenen Mann zu Papier gebracht werden, der sich nach seiner Zeit bei der Schultz Gang als Hochbegabter entpuppt Ein kurzes, immerhin vergleichsweise brillantes Beispiel dieser etwas verstiegenen Prosa, im Nebenzimmer hat sich gerade ein Mord ereignet Die alles dauerte gut eine Stunde, wenn nicht noch l nger, und dann, es muss gegen elf gewesen sein, h rte ich tats chlich den Schuss, man fragt sich nicht mehr, was es ist, wenn man es h rt, die Kunde ist eindeutig, sie bohrt sich durch die Kammern des Ohrs und als das Echo verhallt war, vernahm ich die Stille der pl tzlichen Subtraktion eines Lebens von der Welt, und in der bebenden Wirklichkeit dessen, was ich wusste, sa ich auf dem Rand meines Betts, diesmal zu gel hmt um auch nur aufzustehen und meine Zimmert r abzuschlie en Ich sa da mit meiner durchgeladenen Automatic und hielt sie unter einem Kissen auf dem Scho.Was hatte ich im Sinn gehabt, als ich diese M nner zu ihren grimmigen Gesch ften in Kleinstadthotels begleitete, wollte ich sie verstehen, nichts als verstehen Billy Bathgate Seite 256Die Partie entstammt dem dritten Teil, der den schier endlosen Aufenthalt in einer Landgemeinde schildert Das bedr ckende Gef hl der Langeweile vermittelt Doctorow seinen Lesern auf gut 150 der 420 Seiten, in die der oben zitierte Mord rein passen und die Liebesgeschichte mit Drew, die sich auf zwei unglaublich schmutzige im Sinne von sich dreckig machen Nacktnummern in der Natur konzentriert, die ein wenig aus dem Einerlei heraus ragen Starke, atmosph rische Momente des Buchs sind die Vorbereitung der Hinrichtung Bo Weinbergs zu Beginn, bzw die Schilderung des Endes beim Zusammensein mit Drew, sowie die Eliminierung der Schultz Bande am Schluss Aber die sind im Film optimal ins Bild gesetzt Die Optik der Darsteller entspricht nat rlich nur sehr bedingt den Beschreibungen der Vorlage, ich hatte nie Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman oder Bruce Willis vor Augen, sondern deutlich sch bigere Gestalten, so weit es die Gangster betrifft, Frau Kidman blieb sicherlich hinter den Anforderungen der Rolle zur ck, diese Mischung von Unschuld und Durchtriebenheit, Spieltrieb und Begierde ging sicher ber die Verh ltnisse der damaligen Mrs Cruise Das ndert nichts an der Tatsache, dass man sich die Lekt re diese Buches getrost sparen kann, wenn man die herrlich von Nestor Almendros eingefangenen Bilder des Films von Robert Benton gesehen hat F r den Inhalt h tte gut die H lfte der Seiten gereicht, die andere H lfte besteht aus hochtrabenden Betrachtungen in Worten, die bestenfalls knapp am Sachverhalt vorbei gehen Die meiste Zeit ber l sst die hochgestochene Sprache die Geschichte einfach unwahrscheinlich erscheinen, weil die Wortwahl einfach nicht zu einem Gassenjungen und Schulabbrecher passt, der sich einer Gangsterbande angeschlossen hat.Eine klarere Trennung zwischen dem aktuellen Bewusstsein des Verfassers dieser Erinnerungen und seinem damaligen Erkenntnisstand und Empfinden h tte die Geschichte vielleicht glaubw rdiger gemacht Aber angesichts des Superhappy Ends w ren selbst diese erz hltechnischen Ma nahmen schnell in Vergessenheit geraten denn am Ende erweist sich Billy als hochbegabter Mustersch ler, der ein Stipendium f r eine Spitzenuni bekommt, s mtliche Verstecke von Dutch Schultz ausr umt, ohne je von anderen Gangs behelligt zu werden oder gar dar ber in Streit mit seinen Waisenhauspartner zu geraten Und zu allem berfluss bekommt Billy noch seinen aus den Schlammn und Schleimnummern mit Drew hervor gegangen Sohn frei Haus geliefert Mehr happy End geht wirklich nicht Wenn es auch wider jede Vernunft ist.


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  15. says:

    This was fun There were a couple of instances of somewhat graphic violence this was Dutch Schultz s gang but not in a squeamish way and so much that I was fearful There was also a somewhat graphic sex scene It was probably a lot graphic when first published in 1989, but sex in books has become graphic of late, and I think this might be a bit mild Doctorow s prose is interesting He is a bit free with his sentence structure and there were a couple of times I went back to reread, wondering if my mind had wandered and I had missed something Nope, he just strings clauses together with commas A lot of of clauses and a lot of commas in a few instances Although this is told in the first person, I would not characterize the style as stream of consciousness But that may be because I ve read Faulkner s The Sound and the Fury, which has whole sections of what I understood as stream of consciousness It has a decent plot The characterizations are not as good, but satisfying in this setting This story takes place essentially over a year s time Billy lives in the South Bronx, a neighborhood poor enough it s hard to imagine they had any knowledge the country was in a depression Billy is noticed by the New York gangster, Dutch Schultz, who calls him a capable boy Billy is quite capable it turns out, filling the expectations of that description.


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Billy Bathgate summary pdf Billy Bathgate, summary chapter 2 Billy Bathgate, sparknotes Billy Bathgate, Billy Bathgate 7215fa3 In S New York, Billy Bathgate, A Fifteen Year Old Highschool Dropout, Has Captured The Attention Of Infamous Gangster Dutch Schultz, Who Lures The Boy Into His World Of Racketeering The Product Of An East Bronx Upbringing By His Half Crazy Irish Catholic Mother, After His Jewish Father Left Them Long Ago, Billy Is Captivated By The World Of Money, Sex, And High Society The Charismatic Schultz Has To Offer But It Is Also A World Of Extortion, Brutality, And Murder, Where Billy Finds Himself Involved In A Dangerous Affair With Schultz S GirlfriendRelive This Story Through The Title Character S Driving Narrative, A Child S Thoughts And Feelings Filtered Through The Sensibilities Of An Adult, And The Result Is EL Doctorow S Most Convincing And Appealing Portrayal Of A Young Boy S Life Converging Mythology And History, One Of America S Most Admired Authors Has Captured The Romance Of Gangsters And Criminal Enterprise That Continues To Fascinate The American Psyche Today

  • Paperback
  • 326 pages
  • Billy Bathgate
  • E.L. Doctorow
  • English
  • 24 May 2017
  • 9780452280021

About the Author: E.L. Doctorow

E L Doctorow s works of fiction include Homer Langley, The March, Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, Loon Lake, World s Fair, The Waterworks, and All the Time in the World Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, The Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and the presidentia