New York (novel)
New York first (UK) edition cover.
|Illustrator||Mike Morganfeld (maps)|
|Publisher||Century Hutchinson, Doubleday (US)|
|September 3, 2009|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||1040 pp (first edition) (862 pp US first ed.)|
The novel chronicles the birth and growth of New York City, from the arrival of the first European colonists in the 17th century right up to the summer of 2009. As in previous Rutherfurd historical novels, the reader experiences the history of the place through the histories of fictional families who live there. In New York, these families represent the successive waves of immigrants who gave the city its multicultural character.
The early Dutch founders of New Amsterdam are typified by the Van Dyck family, who prosper in trade with the Native Americans; both the local Algonquian tribes and the Mohawk who lived farther up the Hudson Valley. The Van Dycks soon unite with the English Master family. The Van Dyck-Masters remain in New York through the entire saga, providing one of the unifying narrative strands. We also meet Quash, an African slave and unwilling immigrant to New Amsterdam, whose descendants also become part of the New York cultural mix.
As the history progresses through the years, we meet more fictional families: the Irish O'Donnells, the German Kellers, the Italian Carusos, the Jewish Adlers, the Puerto Rican Camposes. Their intertwining stories, which include looks at the family cultural traditions of the various groups and intercultural relations, play out against the historical backdrop of the great city.
Because the main characters in New York are members of the fictional families, the story lines sometimes take the reader away from the city. One chapter takes place in Georgian London. Another follows Washington's army through Valley Forge to Yorktown. But most of the wanderers return home in the end.
Rutherfurd breaks the narrative into sections by date, twenty-seven in all. Most dates comprise one chapter; a few dates continue through two or three chapters. A set of three well-drawn maps of Manhattan Island helps the reader follow the action as the city grows and evolves. A fourth map, of the New York City region, provides a larger geographical context.
Links to New York historical references
Most people have heard of the Statue of Liberty, but many of the historical New York people, places and events in New York: A Novel are not so well known. Following are links to Wikipedia articles on some of these. Links are listed by chapter; chapters with no links are not included.
- New Amsterdam: 1664. Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch West India Company, Walloons, Pierre Minuit, Lenape
- New York. Meinheer Leisler, Captain Kidd, Lord Cornbury
- The Boston Girl: 1735. Zenger trial, Andrew Hamilton
- The Philadelphia Girl: 1741. George Whitefield
- Montayne's Tavern: 1758. Guy Fawkes Night
- Abigail: 1765. New York Provincial Assembly, McDougall, Sears, Sons of Liberty, Livingston, DeLancey
- The Loyalist: 1770. Tea Act, Intolerable Acts, John Jay, King's College
- War: March 1776. Brooklyn Heights
- Fire: 1776. Great Fire of New York
- Love: July 1777. General Howe, General Clinton, Wallabout Bay, Major André, Fraunces Tavern
- The Capital: 1790. Federal Hall, Alexander Hamilton, "his deputy"
- Past Five Points: 1849. two big fires-the first in 1835, new City Hall, Croton Aqueduct
- Crystal Palace: 1853. Cornelius Vanderbilt, Latting Observatory, Crystal Palace, Tammany Hall
- The Draft: 1863. Jerome, Madame Restell, Draft Riots of 1863
- Moonlight Sonata: 1871. Mathew Brady, Coney Island
- Snow: 1888. Great Blizzard of 1888, The Dakota, the House of Drexel, Morgan, Brooklyn Bridge
- Ellis Island: 1901-1911. Statue of Liberty, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Riverside (house), Knickerbocker Trust, Panic of 1907, Triangle fire
- Empire State: 1917. Prohibition, Long Island, Cotton Club, French building, Charles Lindbergh, Chrysler Building, Black Thursday, Empire State Building, "suspension bridge across the Hudson River"
- Brooklyn: 1953. Betty Parsons, Robert Moses
- Verrazano Narrows: 1968. Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the Guggenheim
- After Dark: 1977. Spanish Harlem
- London (novel), another historical novel by Rutherford, documenting the city of London
- History of New York City
- The Langum Charitable Trust
- Gotham: a history of New York City to 1898. By Edwin G. Burrows, Mike Wallace. p.188
In his acknowledgments, the author credits two main written reference sources:
- Edward Rutherfurd website