Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser (pulitzer winner)

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Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser (pulitzer winner)

Postby DrG2 » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:15 pm

Martin Dressler, by Steven Millhauser. **** A Pulitzer-winner, this novel follows Martin Dressler from age 14 to about 33 spanning the turn of the 20th Century. His father owns a tobacco store, and Martin takes a job in a hotel although he had assumed he would inherit his father's business. Through pluck and hard work, Martin moves up, and becomes the owner of a chain of restaurants in New York. Given an opportunity to own a hotel, he starts developing new hotels which are part amusement park. He overreaches and falls.

This was a good, though somewhat weird novel. It was almost all exposition. The story follows Martin throughout, but the narration never gets very deep, so the reader isn't sure if he's emotionally-closed-off or we're just not told about it. He develops a strange relationship with three women (a mother and her two adult children). He marries the pretty daughter and brings the other daughter into a leadership role in his businesses. There is never much closeness, emotionally or sexually, with the wife, but the other sister becomes probably his best friend. So, part of this might be the moral to marry your friend, not marry because of beauty, though I'm not sure.

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Re: Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser (pulitzer winner)

Postby John Dodds » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:20 am

I read this a number of years ago, and I thought it was wonderful. Millhauser is one of those writers like Jonathan Carroll, for example, who deserves a big audience. I recently reviewed Carroll's latest, Bathing the Lion, on the Adventures in Scifi Publishing website. Carroll has in common with Millhauser a flair for plausible weirdness. They are almost American magical realists.

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