E. L. Doctorow is an enormously accomplished writer. This work is no exception, though I preferred others like his classic Ragtime, and Billy Bathgate.
His style is lightly experimental here, but not so stream-of-consciousness as Billy Bathgate, for example. The opening couple of pages are breathtaking even though I do think the portrayal of science as a dry empty shell that misses all the magic in the universe, is misinformed.
I am not sure the author has ever written a bad book. Apart from being intellectual, stylish, and literate, Doctorow manages to tell a conventionally paced "detective" story as well. This is an enormously reflective and philosophical work that somehow manages to tell a story as well, sort of like Robert M. Pirsig's Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, but less flashy and way more serious and intellectual.
I have always marvelled at the author's ability to write a sentence that runs on for an age yet never seems forced or awkward or difficult to understand. This is the work of a very fine word smith and deeply philosophical mind, yet he makes the reading of it easy and flowing. You are never forced into abstruse intellectualism by the author but if you wish to seriously ponder the book it will reward you with staggering depths....Continua