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WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD
WINNER OF THE RSL ONDAATJE PRIZE
WINNER OF THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE
NAMED “NOVEL OF THE YEAR” BY THE UK’S SUNDAY TIMES
“Delirious storytelling backfilled with this much intelligence is a rare and happy sight.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“[Francis Spufford is] an author capable of making any topic, however unlikely, at once fascinating and amusing. Golden Hill is both.” —The New Yorker
“Nothing short of a masterpiece.” —The Guardian
The spectacular first novel from acclaimed nonfiction author Francis Spufford follows the adventures of a mysterious young man in mid-eighteenth century Manhattan, thirty years before the American Revolution.
New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan island, 1746. One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat arrives at a countinghouse door on Golden Hill Street: this is Mr. Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion shimmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge sum, and he won’t explain why, or where he comes from, or what he is planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money. Should the New York merchants trust him? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him; maybe even kill him?
Rich in language and historical perception, yet compulsively readable, Golden Hill is a story “taut with twists and turns” that “keeps you gripped until its tour-de-force conclusion” (The Times, London). Spufford paints an irresistible picture of a New York provokingly different from its later metropolitan self but already entirely a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love—and find a world of trouble.