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Metropolis: A Novelby Elizabeth Gaffney
Synopses & Reviews
Elizabeth Gaffney’s magnificent, Dickensian Metropolis captures the splendor and violence of America’s greatest city in the years after the Civil War, as young immigrants climb out of urban chaos and into the American dream.
On a freezing night in the middle of winter, Gaffney’s nameless hero is suddenly awakened by a fire in P. T. Barnum’s stable, where he works and sleeps, and soon finds himself at the center of a citywide arson investigation.
Determined to clear his name and realize the dreams that inspired his hazardous voyage across the Atlantic, he will change his identity many times, find himself mixed up with one of the city’s toughest and most enterprising gangs, and fall in love with a smart, headstrong, and beautiful young woman. Buffeted by the forces of fate, hate, luck, and passion, our hero struggles to build a life–just to stay alive–in a country that at first held so much promise for him.
Epic in sweep, Metropolis follows our hero from his arrival in New York harbor through his experiences in Barnum’s circus, the criminal underground, and the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, and on to a life in Brooklyn that is at once unique and poignantly emblematic of the American experience. In a novel that is wonderfully written, rich in suspense, vivid historical detail, breathtakingly paced, Elizabeth Gaffney captures the wonder and magic of a rambunctious city in a time of change. Metropolis marks a superb fiction debut.
From the Hardcover edition.
Following a fire in P. T. Barnum's circus stable, a young German immigrant becomes caught up in New York's criminal underworld while falling in love with an Irish girl, as he becomes the target of a city-wide arson investigation, struggling to stay alive, win the woman he loves, and build a new life in late-nineteenth-century New York. 55,000 first printing.
About the Author
ELIZABETH GAFFNEY is an advisory editor of The Paris Review. In addition to teaching writing at New York University, she has translated from German The Arbogast Case (Thomas Hettche), The Pollen Room (Zo
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