Top positive review
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Shear beauty of prose
on 20 April 2013
The notorious Dutch Schultz gang is revered by the young deprived boys of the Bronx, among them and no less impressed is Billy Bathgate who is keen to become involved, so when the chance arises he does not hold back and soon this precocious young fifteen year old finds himself accepted into the gang. This is the world of protection rackets, gang enforced business monopolies and tax evasion set against the background of drive by shootings and big black Packards.
Billy's diligence, inventiveness and initiative is such that very soon Schultz is referring to Billy as his protege. We follow Billy's rise within the gang, and his various assignments through to the ultimate fate of the gang, and to what becomes of Billy thereafter.
The shear beauty of the prose is enough to keep one going through this involving account, even if I did hesitate when just a few pages in it seemed we were going to witness a brutal gang retribution; while the horrors of gang life are there it never descended into any unnecessary gruesomeness, but maintains the emphasis on the individuality of the various characters, primarily the members of the gang and the beautiful young women who becomes involved with Schultz, and through such, Billy.
Billy Bathgate is a most involving novel, the character of the title is most endearing, but above all it is the high quality of the flowing prose that is the real pleasure of this book.