First, novelist E.L. Doctorow reads from his novel, "Billy Bathgate." (First broadcast March 14, 1989) Then, film critic Stephen Schiff reviews "Billy Bathgate," the film adaptation of E. L. Doctorow's best-selling novel. It stars Dustin Hoffman and Bruce Willis.
The author's books follow the lives of fictional characters in real historical situations. Several of them have been made into films. Doctorow's newest novel, Billy Bathgate, takes place in the criminal underworld of early-twentieth-century New York City.
Writer E.L. Doctorow is known for using real-life historical figures as characters in his period novels. Best known for his book Ragtime, his novel Loon Lake is now available in paperback. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the day-to-day work of a writer and how his job as an editor affected his prose.