Author(s): Steven Millhauser
Young Martin Dressler begins his career as a 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. His visions grow more and more fantastical as he plans his ultimate creation: the Grand Cosmo, in which he attempts to capture the entire world and its dreams. Accompanied on this journey by two sisters - one a dreamlike shadow, the other a wordly business partner - Martin walks a haunted line between fantasy and reality, madness and ambition, art and industry. The Grand Cosmo is his triumph and his undoing, the bold conclusion to this biography of the twentieth-century notion of progress, this mesmerizing journey to the heart of the American dream.