The Waterworks

The Waterworks

Book - 1994
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"An elegant page-turner of nineteenth-century detective fiction." --The Washington Post Book World One rainy morning in 1871 in lower Manhattan, Martin Pemberton a freelance writer, sees in a passing stagecoach several elderly men, one of whom he recognizes as his supposedly dead and buried father. While trying to unravel the mystery, Pemberton disappears, sending McIlvaine, his employer, the editor of an evening paper, in pursuit of the truth behind his freelancer's fate. Layer by layer, McIlvaine reveals a modern metropolis surging with primordial urges and sins, where the Tweed Ring operates the city for its own profit and a conspicuously self-satisfied nouveau-riche ignores the poverty and squalor that surrounds them. In E. L. Doctorow's skilled hands, The Waterworks becomes, in the words ofThe New York Times, "a dark moral tale . . . an eloquently troubling evocation of our past." "Startling and spellbinding . . . The waters that lave the narrative all run to the great confluence, where the deepest issues of life and death are borne along on the swift, sure vessel of [Doctorow's] poetic imagination." --The New York Times Book Review "Hypnotic . . . a dazzling romp, an extraordinary read, given strength and grace by the telling, by the poetic voice and controlled cynical lyricism of its streetwise and world-weary narrator." --The Philadelphia Inquirer "A gem of a novel, intimate as chamber music . . . a thriller guaranteed to leave readers with residual chills and shudders." --Boston Sunday Herald "Enthralling . . . a story of debauchery and redemption that is spellbinding from first page to last." --Chicago Sun-Times "An immense, extraordinary achievement." --San Francisco Chronicle From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c1994.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780394587547
0394587545
Characteristics: 320 p. ; 24 cm.

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theorbys Oct 01, 2015

Very skillfully told detective tale of 1870s New York in something of a Holmes (Capt. Donne) - Watson (McIlvaine) format. Doctorow above all brings the New York of its time to vivid life as the team tracks down a new version of Viktor Frankenstein. I say Holmes and Watson, but the original model is Poe's Dupin and his unnamed narrating sidekick. In fact there is a distinct Gothic atmosphere to the Waterworks that owes much to Edgar Allan Poe. If you are a genre buff this could easily be 5 stars.

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