New York (novel)
New York first (UK) edition cover.
|Illustrator||Mike Morganfeld (maps)|
|Publisher||Century Hutchinson, Doubleday (US)|
|3 September 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 old Rutherfurd history novels, the histories of fictional families who live there are the focus of the work. 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 negro 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 American McDonalds, the German Kellers, the Italian Carusos, the Jewish Adlers, and 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 development of the city.
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.
- Edward Rutherfurd website