Young Martin Dressler begins his career as an industrious helper in his father's cigar store. In the course of his restless young manhood, he makes a swift and eventful rise to the top, accompanied by two sisters--one a dreamlike shadow, the other a worldly business partner. As the eponymous Martin's vision becomes bolder and bolder he walks a haunted line between fantasy and reality, madness and ambition, art and industry, a sense of doom builds piece-by-hypnotic piece until this mesmerizing journey into the heart of an American dreamer reaches its bitter-sweet conclusion.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Martin Dressler|
|Release Date: 09-01-2010|
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There once lived a man named Martin Dressler, a shopkeeper's son, who rose from modest beginnings to a height of dreamlike good fortune. This was toward the end of the 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 with big display windows made possible by an improved process for manufacturing sheets of glass. Although Martin Dressler was a shopkeeper's son, he too dreamed his dream, and at last he was lucky enough to do what few people even dare to imagine: he satisfied his heart's desire. But this is a perilous privilege, which the gods watch jealously, waiting for the flaw, the little flaw, that brings everything to ruin, in the end.
One hot morning in the summer of 1881, when Martin was nine years old, he was standing in the window of his father's cigar store, looking out at the street. He liked the striped, shady awnings across the way, the sunshiny cobbles, the heavy bent-head drayhorse pulling a delivery wagon. He watched the sunshot ripple of muscles in the shoulders of the horse and a lady with green feathers in her hat who had stopped to look at the window of the silk and ribbon shop. A gleaming wet clump of horsedung lay steaming in the sun. Along came a jogtrotting cabhorse, the upright bouncing cabby somehow reminded Martin of a dice box-and as he watched the bright enchanting world of the street, separated from his nose by a single sheet of carefully washed glass, he almost forgot why he was standing in the window. An excitement came over h...