The Modern Library - the 200 best novels in English since 1950
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Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
Random House 1997

The story opens in 1906 in New York at the home of an affluent American family, outside which, one lazy afternoon, the famous escape artist Houdini swerves into a telephone pole. Almost magically the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters disappears. It is a story of public drama, murder trials, teeming immigrants, political upheaval, vast wealth, Victorian values and secret longings, peopled by well known characters who slip in and out of the tale.
E.L. Doctorow was born in New York.

 
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
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