A novel set in in America at the turn of the 20th century. It's characters: three remarkable families whose lives become entwined with Henry Ford, Harry Houdini, J.P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata.
Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century & the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, NY, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. Almost magically, the line between fantasy & historical fact, between real & imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud & Emiliano Zapata slip in & out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family & other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler & a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.
The novel was a nominee for the Nebula Award for Best Novel and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 1975, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in 1976.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Ragtime number 86 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
NOTE: cover is slightly different than pictured here.
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