The Empire City: A Novel of New York City (Paperback)
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The thirty year epic story of Horatio, an idealist who struggles to take his place in a conformist society and still retain his personal identity."If we conformed to the mad society, we became mad," Paul Goodman writes in Empire City, "but if we did not conform to the only society that there is, we became mad." That theme prevades much of this novel that the Review of Contemporary Fiction, among others, praised as "a remarkable achievement." This comic-picaresque epic is about the coming-of-age of Horatio, a sane man in an absurd world. Our endearingly optimistic hero resists his compulsory mis-education, does battle with the System, and scours post-World War II Manhattan for an elective family of fellow-thinkers and, more important, fellow-feelers. It's a big book, but Horatio's is a big world, and his question the biggest a man can ask: "How does one live the right life?" As Goodman once said, "I might seem to have a number of divergent interests--community planning, psychotherapy, education, politics--but they are all one concern: how to make it possible to grow up as a human being into a culture without losing nature. I simply refuse to acknowledge that a sensible and honorable community does not exist."