Set in 1930's America, this is the story of a young drifter whose primary desire in life is to avoid the tedious and dull existence of his parents. One day, while Joe is running from a sickening experience at his latest job, he sees a private train carrying a wealthy group of people into the Adirondack woods; his obsession with finding the beautiful young woman on the train, leads him to the estate of a wealthy businessman, where his life becomes entangled with the tycoon, the woman, a poet, and a mobster. The book was written both in first and third person narratives, with periodic out-of time-sequence changes, and interspersed with poetry. Not only did the writing style make the story confusing, but the characters' overwhelming self-absorption made them rather unlikable. This is my first Doctorow novel, and I am not compelled to read another.