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New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd

New York: The Novel

by Edward Rutherfurd

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,911735,564 (3.9)124
A tale set against a backdrop of New York City's history from its founding through the September 11 attacks traces the experiences of characters who witness such periods as the Revolutionary War, the city's emergence as a financial giant, and the Gilded Age.

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» See also 124 mentions

English (70)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (73)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Listened to it on Audible Audio. This was really a great listen. Very interesting. Spanned several generations of New York families. Great history lesson on the beginning of New York to present day told as a fictional depiction through a generational family. There was a point towards the end that started to be very depressing. Then the anticipation of the worse events for New York. I actually had to turn it off and regroup emotionally before completing the book. The only negative I have is that jumping into the next generation of family members, I felt like I wasn't ready for the end of the characters. The ending tied up and united the original families interesting enough to say I loved the book and will read another by this author. ( )
1 vote booklovers2 | Aug 18, 2019 |
This is one of my all-time favorites. One of those books you really don't want to end! If you live in New York or have ever visited New York, this is a must read! ( )
  elsyd | May 18, 2019 |
Accurately described as a sweeping saga - I learnt much about New York history through the stories of several families over their generations. ( )
  siri51 | May 9, 2019 |
3.5 stars

This is a novel that follows multiple characters through 400+ years in New York City. Primarily, we follow the same family(ies) through the generations. Starting in the 17th century with a Dutch family (and we also follow African Americans, Irish, Italians…), we follow from grandparent to grandchild (for the most part) and we see the characters through colonization, slavery, the Civil War, Tammany Hall, The Triangle Factory fire, the Depression, up to and including 9/11.

I listened to the audio, and for me, audios narrated by a male voice aren’t always exciting for me; add to that, the length of this one (I also tend to have trouble with very long audios), and I was pleasantly surprised. I waffled between rating this 3 stars (ok) and 3.5 (good), as there were parts where I lost interest. I think I rated “Sarum” 3 stars, and though it was a number of years ago, I do think I preferred “New York”. In some ways, with the different characters (though all family), it felt a bit like short stories – some situations and characters I found more interesting than others. It did end on a strong (but very difficult) note with 9/11. ( )
  LibraryCin | Mar 31, 2019 |
“Charlie shrugged. ‘Maybe I'm just being a novelist.’ Novelists liked to imagine the interconnectedness of things -- as though all the people in the big city were part of some great organism, their lives intertwined.” — Edward Rutherfurd, “New York”

Edward Rutherfurd gets personal twice in his 2009 novel “New York,” and the lines above mark the second time. Commenting on one of his characters he is also commenting on himself and on what he is attempting to do in this novel and all the others he has written: to imagine the interconnectedness of things — as though all the people in the big city were part of some great organism, their lives intertwined.

He succeeds admirably, even more so than he did in an earlier Rutherfurd novel I read, “London.” The reason may be simply that New York City has a much shorter history than does London. In his novels he follows a few fictional families through the entire history of a city, country or region, conveying important details of history while displaying how key events impact his characters and then showing how these characters impact the lives of descendants who will not remember them. That task can be daunting in a place with as long a history as London. New York, however, has been around just a few hundred years, and so some of his characters can stay around for several chapters in some cases, and readers can follow more closely as one family member passes the baton to the next generation.

Rutherfurd's main characters are part of the Master family, some of whom lived in the city when it was still called New Amsterdam at the time of Peter Stuyvesant. The family business prospers, and the Masters become part of the New York elite. They witness the Revolution, the impact of slavery on the city, the Civil War, major fires and the blizzard of 1888, the arrival of large numbers of immigrants, the Great Depression and, eventually, the terrorist attack on the twin towers. The author mixes in families representing different groups, including blacks, Irish, Jews and Puerto Ricans. In a sense, Rutherfurd demonstrates that the history of New York City is also the history of the United States.

The author errs here and there in his massive novel. At one point, for example, he writes that "General Grant had just smashed the Confederates at Gettysburg." Grant was attacking Vicksburg at the time of the Battle of Gettysburg. Later the British author rites of a family going to the beach for a few days, saying it "was one of the best holidays they'd had in years." Americans normally refer to such days away from home as vacations, not holidays.

This novel proves totally absorbing, demonstrating as much as any novel can the "interconnectedness of things."

And as for the other time Rutherfurd gets personal. He pokes fun at himself when he has one of his characters say about another, "Of course ... he was never a gentleman. He even wrote historical novels." ( )
  hardlyhardy | Jan 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Rutherfurd's habit of also making up many of his characters makes this sweeping tale a much more fun read than anyone would suspect. This is history, but with a very readable story line.
added by Shortride | editUSA Today, Craig Wilson (Jan 12, 2010)
"New York: The Novel" is the first foray into America for the British author, who as in previous works never hesitates to pause the narrative to explain to readers, in an easily understood way, the historical context of the time in which the action is unfolding. The result is a book as accessible to the casual reader as it is to the history buff.
added by Shortride | editAssociated Press, Bob Salsberg (Nov 18, 2009)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edward Rutherfurdprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bandini, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brix, BirgitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edward Ruthefurdsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallart, DolorsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hazewindus, Carlasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jongeling, Annesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated, with a lifetime of thanks, to Eleanor Janet Wintle
First words
So this was freedom.
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Book description
A retrospective story of New York covering the years 1664 through 2009.
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