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City of God: A Novel (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 19. August 2014

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  • Taschenbuch: 288 Seiten
  • Verlag: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Auflage: Reprint (19. August 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0812985893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812985894
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,1 x 2 x 20,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (35 Kundenrezensionen)

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E.L. Doctorow's City of God starts off not merely with a bang but with the big bang itself, that "great expansive flowering, a silent flash into being in a second or two of the entire outrushing universe". It doesn't remain on this cosmic plane throughout. There's a mystery here, along with a romance, a chilling Holocaust narrative and a deep-focus portrait of fin-de-siécle Manhattan.

In the early pages of the novel, an enormous brass cross is pilfered from a church on the Lower East Side. Father Thomas Pemberton of St Timothy's promptly sets off in search of it, dubbing himself the Divinity Detective. Yet he suspects from the start that this is no ordinary theft, with no ordinary solution. The cross eventually turns up on the roof of the Synagogue for Evolutionary Judaism, a tiny Manhattan institution to which Pemberton has clearly been led by fate. His encounter with the synagogue's rabbinical duo--a husband-and-wife team struggling to reclaim a pre-scriptural state of "unmediated awe"--transforms his life. It also destroys what's left of his conventional Christian belief. As his relationship with Judaism deepens, he discards the clerical collar altogether and embarks upon a penitential exploration of the Holocaust--which in turn allows Doctorow to loop his narrative back and forth between several generations of (mostly) Jew and Gentile.

City of God is a marvellous hybrid which includes a metafictional framework (i.e., an author-as-character with a rather Doctorovian CV), an ongoing rumination on city life and a dozen other major strands and minor players. There is an undeniable power to the way Doctorow makes his fictional worlds collide, setting off all manner of historical and philosophical conflagrations. At one point he imagines "the totality of intimate human narrations/composing a hymn to enlightenment/if that were possible". A tall order, yes. But despite its occasional longueurs, City of God suggests that it is possible indeed. --James Marcus -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


“A grander perspective on the universe . . . a novel that sets its sights on God.”The Wall Street Journal
“Dazzling . . . The true miracle of City of God is the way its disparate parts fuse into a consistently enthralling and suspenseful whole.”Time
“Blooms with humor, and a humanity that carries triumphant as intelligent a novel as one might hope to find these days.”Los Angeles Times
“Radiates [with] panoramic ambition and spiritual incandescence.”Chicago Tribune
“One of the greatest American novels of the past fifty years . . . Reading City of God restores one’s faith in literature.”The Houston Chronicle

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von A. Melck am 10. Oktober 2005
Format: Taschenbuch
I must admit that many of the reviews to be found on these pages bemuse me. It's a while now since I read this book, but I recall it being one of the best I have had the pleasure to take up in the last decade. More than any novel book, it manages to successfully map the alienating fabric of the modern city to the metaphysical and moral quandaries in which people live today. Far from being anti-religious, I find that it is a sympathetic and very human account of one man's journey from one kind of weltbild to another.
Stylistically I grant that the novel will be difficult to approach for people who have never grasped the basics of literary modernism. However, it is a much easier read than any major novel by Joyce, Pynchon or even Beckett.
Above all I find the comment that the novel is a "grab-bag" or collection of random bric-a-brac highly unfair. Like Ulysses, I'd suggest that if anything the book is over-plotted - you just have to keep your eyes open!
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E L Doctorow's latest is typical of an unpredictable author. It is another of his attempts to connect historic fact in modern, or in this case, post modern reality. In this sense it is hugely ambitious but it rewards the adventurous reader, willing to journey on his roller coaster ride of themes and styles.
His ostensible subject is spirituality at the turn of the 20th Century. He explores this through the experience of a liberal episcopal priest in a crumbling downtown parish in New York City. Under threat from the Authorities his faith is challenged fianlly by the disappearance of his altar cross and ir=ts eventual reappearance on the roof of an uptown liberal Jewish synagogue. There appears to be no reason for this move.
Doctorow uses this fable to faith in the 20th century through the development of philosphical thought (principally Wittgenstein, whose parodic musings are a highlight)and in the teeth of the grim horrors of WW1,WW2, Vietnam and, especially, the Holocaust. All this is held together through the attempts of an author to bring the characters and themes together through his own notebooks. thus we also find notes and thoughts on other types of faith including the American popular song, for Doctorow, one of the most obvious expressions of secular belief the 20th century has to offer.
If this sounds a tough nut to crack, it isBut dull it is not. The reader barely has room to breathe as he or she is taken through fastidiously grim Holocaust narratives, elegaic descriptions of the beauties of faith and rough hewn poetry.
Through it all, this envigorating journey of the mind becomes a meditiation on the development of the soul and the role of faith in any future we might have. If his answers are not comfortable, his style is challenging and thrilling.
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Some initial caveats: 'City of God' is not a straightforward mystery as its blurb suggests. Nor is it the impossibly cerebral challenge that some have suggested. It is not a theological manifesto. Nor does its blend of fact and fiction does not entail Doctorow's habitual ironic play with history.
This is a book about connections. Life and art, fact and fiction, and the past and present conjoin in the ruminations of a middle-aged writer attempting to make holistic sense from the seemingly disparate threads of the late twentieth century. The novel is therefore also about the potential difficulties of being middle-aged, and of trying to look to the future when one is increasingly compelled to reminisce (and confess) about the past. Its characters roam the city of New York and then the world for missing objects and people, including stolen brass crosses from churches, WWII diaries containing evidence of Nazi criminals, and excommunicated reverends. Predictably (but also pleasurably), more important than what they find is what they learn about both themselves and the age in which they live.
Some reviewers have criticised the novel for its fragmentary style. But here Doctorow produces some of his most lyrical, least mannered excursions into the human unconscious yet. The novel's chief difficulty for readers is not in trying to understand it but in knowing how to read it. My experience of its chief pleasures come not from looking at the fragments individually, but by examning the connections between them.
Moreover, don't expect the 'city' of the title to be teeming with carefully delineated characters.
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Doctorow has garnered so many writing awards-the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle awards, the PEN/Faulkner award, and the National Humanities Medal from the president, just to name a few-each successive novel is eagerly anticipated and closely scrutinized. And while I have no doubt that most critics will applaud this latest effort, I found it frustratingly demanding and wearisome. Those hoping to find another "Billy Bathgate" or "The Waterworks" will be disappointed. In "City of God," Doctorow has chosen to go down a new and entirely different path than his past efforts.
We are treated to a series of separate narratives that include a Holocaust survivor and discourses on everything from astrophysics to the lyrics of popular songs, to the meaning of life and role of God and religion at the end of the twentieth century. Many of the novel's moments are beautifully written, such as the recitations from the Holocaust survivor and the prayer offered by the Episcopalian minister at his wedding. And these moments are almost worth the time and trouble of wading through the remainder of the book. But many of the plot lines appear to lead to dead-ends, such as the prominent story of the cross that is stolen from the Episcopal church and ends up on the roof of the Jewish synagogue. Besides the torturous symbolism, what are we to make of this event that hangs over the story line but is eventually forgotten and dropped by the author?
Readers beware-"City of God" has its satisfying moments (and they can be surprisingly rewarding) but you will be made to sweat for each one.
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