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Billy Bathgate: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) Paperback – June 29, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Although it is the Dutchman who takes in the boy, Billy is drawn to Dutch's moll sexually, and to the gang's bookkeeper, Otto Berman, emotionally. Otto is the real key to the book. Billy, like Johnson's Boswell, is drawn to the accountant and his philosophy. Broken down, Otto explains to the boy that things like love, loyalty, knowledge, and spirit are meaningless--none of them can be proven. They are all bound by words. To Otto, words are just words. Numbers, however, are the only true language. One and one will always be two. Numbers never lie. (Spoken like a true accountant.) This has an enormous impact on a young boy whose mother is one step away from the nuthouse, and whose father took off years earlier.
I gave this book four stars because I had just finished re-reading RAGTIME, and this came up a little short. On the other hand, maybe RAGTIME was too high a standard to hold it up to. In any event, this is not your typical gangster novel, as I hope this review has made apparent. It is a complex and profound book and should satisfy the most literary appetite.
Rocco Dormarunno, author of The Five Points.
The plot itself bears much resemblance to countless other mafia stories, filled with shady characters, ruthless hit men, brutal murders, bribing of government officials, and steamy love affairs. The uniqueness lies in the fact that the narrator is a 15-year-old boy, Billy, eager to earn the trust of Dutch Schultz, the mafia kingpin, and his gang. He quickly progresses from simple errand boy, buying cigarettes and coffee, to a position of modest responsibility in this intriguing world of crime. Through Billy's somewhat naïve, innocent eyes, we observe Dutch as he manages his empire, carries out hits against his enemies and disloyal employees, and struggles to evade the attempts of law enforcement to bring him down. The story takes us from New York City to Onondoga, a small town where Dutch's trial eventually takes place. And in the process, we witness the growth of a boy into a young man as he enters a world of big money, intense loyalty, and vindictive violence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good story, slow in some places, too wordy in others. All on all an interesting look into a different timePublished 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
Before begin reading it I thought tha t it was going to be another novel full of crime and gory details. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Abel De Los Santos
I really enjoyed the story, but the type in this edition was terrible. It was like a scan from an old hardback. The lines weren't even the same height on some pages. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sam
This met expectations over and over again. Well written, good plot, dialogue engaging and authentic - even for the young teen. Settings very well crafted. Point of view immediate. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I put off all my HoneyDo s while I was reading this book on my iPad, very well written .Published 6 months ago by Shaaheen.