- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
This item may be
Check for Availability
The Night Inspector: A Novelby Frederick Busch
Synopses & Reviews
An immensely powerful story, The Night Inspector follows the extraordinary life of William Bartholomew, a maimed veteran of the Civil War, as he returns from the battlefields to New York City, bent on reversing his fortunes. It is there he meets Jessie, a Creole prostitute who engages him in a venture that has its origins in the complexities and despair of the conflict he has left behind. He also befriends a deputy inspector of customs named Herman Melville who, largely forgotten as a writer, is condemned to live in the wake of his vanished literary success and in the turmoil of his fractured family.
Delving into the depths of this country's heart and soul, Frederick Busch's stunning novel is a gripping portrait of a nation trying to heal from the ravages of war--and of one man's attempt to recapture a taste for life through the surging currents of his own emotions, ambitions, and shattered conscience.
When William Bartholomew, a maimed veteran of the Civil War, becomes involved with a Creole prostitute in 1867 New York City, he discovers the continuing underground trade in black people, a case that embroils him with Boston newpaperman Samuel Mordechai and a deputy customs inspector named Herman Melville. 30,000 first printing. Tour.
No mouth, I told him.
If I'm to craft a special order for you, he said.
What is that, a special order? Why, this. He held up the sketch. I looked away from it. The mask, Mr. Bartholomew, he said. I make arms. I make legs. I've never made a face, sir.
Through the smell of resin and shellac, through the balm of pine shavings, came the odor of his perspiration, and I thought of bivouac, and our stench on the wind. His thick, ragged, graying eyebrows were stippled with sawdust, as was his mustache. One of the knuckles of his broad hand was bloody, and the end of the other hand's long finger had been cut away many years before and had raggedly healed.
Yes, I said. Special. I thought at first you meant order of being. Race. A species of man, perhaps. A special order of nature. I cannot abide such speculation. We have collectively demonstrated, and not that many months bef
About the Author
Frederick Busch's most recent book, Girls, was a New York Times Notable book for 1997. His short story collection, The Children in the Woods, was a finalist for the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award. He has received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in short fiction, the National Jewish Book Award, as well as an award for fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has held Woodrow Wilson, National Endowment for the Arts, James Merrill, and Guggenheim fellowships and has been acting director of the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. The Edgar Fairchild Professor of Literature at Colgate University, he teaches creative writing and fiction and also directs the Living Writers program.
What Our Readers Are Saying