San Francisco Chronicle

Unlike the characters in “Down and Out,” who could be killed and easily resurrected through advances in nanotechnology, Art and the supporting cast of “Eastern Standard Tribe” are thoroughly mortal, blessed only with “comms,” phonelike devices that put incredible computing power at everyone’s fingertips. Their vulnerability gives “Eastern Standard Tribe” an urgency and poignancy that Doctorow’s first novel lacked. One definitely finds oneself rooting for poor, beleaguered Art, and Doctorow resolves his plight with a satisfying dose of suspense and humor.