Summer 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“New York in 1746 is a frontier village just beginning to grow into its identity as the economic powerhouse of the American colonies. Spufford has created a lively cast of characters, those drawn to life on the very fringes of the known world. When a mysterious young man arrives from London with an outrageous line of credit, it immediately alerts the city folk. He is dangerous, but no one can figure out exactly how or why. Spufford masters the art of antique dialogue using language that’s fresh but still perfectly of a time and place. The plot is quick-paced and the intrigue compelling. This is historical fiction at its finest.”
— Kathi Kirby, Powell's Books, Portland, OR
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 "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.