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Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer (Vintage Contemporaries) by [Steven Millhauser]
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Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer (Vintage Contemporaries) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 122 ratings

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Length: 306 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Martin Dressler is a turn-of-the-century New York City entrepreneur who begins in his father's cigar store but dreams of a bigger empire. That dream shapes into a series of large hotels. At first, Dressler's seems the archetypal American success story, but he does not quite grasp the future. The Manhattan of fabled skyline is about to take shape just over the horizon, but Dressler cannot see it. So the story becomes another kind of fable, as Dressler contemplates having "dreamed the wrong dream." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Literature's romance with the building-as-metaphor earns new energy through Millhauser's latest novel (after Little Kingdoms, 1993), which quietly chronicles the life of an entrepreneur whose career peaks when he builds a fabulous hotel in turn-of-the-century Manhattan. Beginning with his first jobs-in his father's cigar shop and as a bellhop-young Martin's rise is fueled by a happy blend of pragmatism and imagination. Both inform the design of the cafes and hotels he builds as an adult, though the latter seems to gain sway in the construction of his magnum opus, the Grand Cosmo. Within the rusticated walls of that grand hotel, one floor's elevators open onto "a densely wooded countryside" dotted with cottages; another floor simulates a rugged mountainside, featuring "caves" furnished with beds, plumbing and "refrigerated air." For recreation, guests can wander in the artificial moonlight of the Pleasure Park or visit the Temple of Poesy, where young women in Green tunics will recite poetry, 24 hours a day. Such amenities speak of Dressler's view of the hotel as "a world within the world, rivaling the world." In deliberate contrast stands Millhauser's cooler evocation of his protagonist's private life. The magnate's genial sister-in-law works for him, while the troubles of his neurasthenic wife-"his sister's sister, his tense, languous, floating, ungraspable bride"-reflect his increasingly manic, untethered imaginings. Millhauser's characteristic fascination with the material artifacts of the vanished past-and the startling deftness with which he can describe the street, the carnival, the hotel that never existed-marks him as a cultural historian as well as an idiosyncratic fabulist. Taking its place alongside other fine tales of architectural symbology, from Poe to Borges to Ayn Rand, this enticing novel becomes at once the tale of a life, a marriage and a creative imagination in crisis.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Publication Date : September 1, 2010
  • File Size : 1438 KB
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print Length : 306 pages
  • Publisher : Vintage; Reprint Edition (September 1, 2010)
  • ASIN : B004089I6A
  • Language: : English
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 122 ratings

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
122 global ratings
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The Outsider
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing on every page
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 1, 2012
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5.0 out of 5 stars 文体が気に入っています
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5.0 out of 5 stars 美しい英文
Reviewed in Japan on March 10, 2012
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