Jan 18 2007

Loon Lake

Published by at 10:01 am under Books

by E.L. Doctorow

I’ve liked other novels by Doctorow so I picked this book up at a big used book sale last December. This book was a mixed bag for me. Some good parts, but I didn’t really get into it. Put it down for periods of a few days several times which is not a good sign. If I get into a story I’ll consistently read it off and on around other activities till I’m done.

This book started strong. Good writing of thoughts and dialog from unnamed people so you had to figure out who was who and when was when since there was a lot of jumping back and forwards in time and location. But good reading. Overall, the book is a well told story but it has a few preachy section in the middle. Preachy on how one should live life as taught by a ridiculously wealthy man. Not bad advice from my point of view, but it seemed disruptive in the middle of the book.

In a nutshell, it is the story of a ghetto kid from Paterson NJ in the nineteen twenties, and focuses on one or two years when he is twenty something. He is the son of a couple who work in the textile mills which were in Paterson at the time. He’s strong willed and become a street kid, a delinquent, goes to New York, becomes a bum and hits the tracks. Along the way, he uses women who ‘belong to’ other men and typically gets information, money, and sex from them. He wanders to the Adirondacks, Loon Lake, where he lands on the estate of a very wealthy man. There he continues his ways and eventually runs off with a gangster’s girl (the gangster provides goons for the rich man). Interwoven is a story of a poet and drunkard who is kept on the estate by the rich man. The background is labor strife, union busting, and the disparities between the rich capitalist and the poor union people
An okay story, but not particularly recommended.

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