Saturday, October 23, 2010

New York: A Novel by Edward Rutherford

New York, by Edward Rutherford, was a phenomenally interesting book.

New York: The Novel

I guess one of the things that makes it so is that the basic premise of the story is so interesting. This book is a novel telling the story of New York, right from its conception to the 9/11 attacks that shook the city, and New York itself is such a fascinating topic that this book could not have been dull. However, the way the author handles the topic is superb. Rather than giving you a dry historical narrative, the author tells this story in the form of a novel by picking one major family, the Masters, and telling you the fortune of not only their family but also the various diverse families whose lives intertwine with those of the Masters. And the end result is definitely a masterpiece.

New York is a city full of many different cultures with their own complex histories, and I think the author tries and succeeds in showing a fairly human glimpse of many of the major cultures. One gets a feel of the big city and the people who make it what it is in this novel. And by showing you the points of view of many small people in the big web, and showing you how, knowingly or unknowingly, their lives meet, the author makes a narrative which is both interesting and enjoyable to read it. Certain objects, like the wampum belt (the inclusion of which made the book so much better) bind the entire narrative together (which I think works well in a novel of this scale, size and scope) and somehow the author manages to remain coherent even when many different storylines overlap.

All in all the book is really well-written. The characters are sometimes confusing (there are many people from the same family) but because the author writes each character so distinctly it isn't very hard to keep them straight in your head. And as each generation faces a new set of problems (and a new set of supporting characters) you are able to get a comprehensive view of a beautiful city - and its dirty underbelly.

Final thoughts: Beautifully written, well researched and extremely interesting. Definitely a must-read.

Other thoughts: As I suspected, all the books are ending now. I just finished Blue Moon Rising, too. Review tomorrow.

13 comments:

  1. It is, I definitely recommend it. :)

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  2. hey :) can u get this book tomorrow???? please :)
    thanks :D get it whenever u read this post :D

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  3. @Aanal: I'll bring it.
    @Nona: It is very interesting. Definitely recommended. :)

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  4. Great review. I never heard of this book before. By the way, you read at a good pace! :)

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  5. Hi,

    Thanks. But I didn't really read at a good pace, I started this before The Prodigal Daughter, and then I had read about 500 pages (out of 1000) when I read the Prodigal Daughter (that only took one whole straight day of reading) and then it took me this long to read half the book. Except that I was also reading Blue Moon Rising with it.

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  6. Oh good, I cant read multiple books at a time. I HAVE to finish something to start another. Good. Keep reading and keep writing! :)

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  7. @Aditya: I mostly can't either, don't know how its changed recently. :)

    Enterprise Mobility Management: Hi, welcome. Glad you liked it. :)

    Sayed: It definitely is. :)

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  8. I am currently reading this book, and I agree it is very interesting. It made me read up more on the history of New York to find out more about some of the real people in the story. Brilliant read!

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  9. I agree so much! It brings history alive!

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