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Martin Dressler

About the Book

Martin Dressler

It is the late nineteenth-century, "when on any streetcorner in America you might see some ordinary-looking citizen who was destined to invent a new kind of bottlecap or tin can, start a chain of five-cent stores, sell a faster and better elevator, or open a fabulous new department store" [p. 1]. In New York City, new buildings are bursting from the Manhattan bedrock every day, the city changing and reinventing itself at an almost incredible rate. One of the most extraordinary of the city's many extraordinary entrepreneurs is young Martin Dressler, a cigarmaker's son who possesses the strength and the good fortune to turn his dreams into reality. We watch as he becomes the model capitalist, rising meteorically from bellhop to founder and proprietor of a string of increasingly fantastic hotels; and we witness his strange enchantment by two sisters, one of whom becomes his companion and business partner, the other his ghostly, elusive bride. Finally, as Martin brings his dreams to their ultimate fruition in the Grand Cosmo hotel, a structure so rich and complex it comes close to rivaling the world itself, this mesmerizing novel brings us face to face with the darker aspects of the American dream, in a denouement that is itself magnificently dreamlike.

Martin Dressler
by Steven Millhauser

  • Publication Date: March 25, 1997
  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 0679781277
  • ISBN-13: 9780679781271