Don't understand all the praise on the cover, in newspapers. Un merited in my view. Enjoyed imagining NY of the time, so enjoyed the descriptions but didn't enjoy the style or the language. And, a book that just cries out for a map.
This is a terrific historical novel set in what will become New York City in 1746 (at that time, New York had about 7000 people). It is in the style of a picaresque novel and uses language that would be appropriate for the time (sparingly, so it remains quite readable). The basic plot, which is set up in the first chapter, revolves on the unknown motives of young Richard Smith, who shows up in New York from London with a bank draft for an enormous sum of money. Who he is, why he is there and his intentions are kept secret by Mr. Smith - the impact of this mysterious stranger on New York town is huge. The historical context is fascinating, the characters interesting and the writing superb.
On pages 244-45 comes the most telling description of the brilliance of the common law and the grubbiness of it in the story-telling actions of it within the court room, all from the mouth of a shyster. That alone was worth the price of deciphering early modern English.
Great plot, straight ahead characters, and a historical setting long gone. Add them up for a page turner leaving you wondering" now what?" Yes, the language might slow you down but that's a deliberate choice to add to the authenticity of this period piece.
I enjoyed it and hope to see more from this author. There's still too much junk out there to read and to miss out on a good read is always a shame.
Weird writing. Story seems like it was written by a robot. Couldn't relate to the main character at all. Couldn't figure out what he was up to or his feelings. I left the story line about the time some of the main characters were literaly fleeing over rooftops in the night in pre-Revolutionary war time in old New York and end up engaging in homosexual activity a short time later.
Yikes, I'd like to get that image out of my head. Give this a pass.
A novel set in the mid-eighteenth century, written in the style of the time - a man with many secrets and many adventures. It is good for what it is.
Interesting novel with some good characterizations and some that are not well developed. The narrative slows in a number of places and the denouement is telegraphed and not terribly satisfying. Some interesting aspects to it that make the novel worth reading f you are interested.
Young Mr. Smith comes to New York City from London on a mission. Many words and adventures later readers come to a surprising ending. Seemingly very popular and award-winning in the UK, I was underwhelmed and skimmed to the end.
Set in mid-1700s New York City, Francis Spufford's "Golden Hill" is an impressive recreation of a long gone age, as well as a tribute to the early British novels of Smollett and Fielding. However, Spufford spends so much time trying to capture the sights, sounds, smells, and language of the period that he neglects the plot and characters. Well, he overplots and the book is half comedy of manners and half thriller without really succeeding at either. English majors might like this. It reminded me of David Liss's books, many of which are also set in the 18th century, although I think his books are far more lively and engaging.
An interesting tale!
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