Metropolis by Elizabeth Gaffney
A Novel

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Elizabeth Gaffney’s magnificent, Dickensian Metropolis captures the splendor and violence of America’s greatest city in the years after the Civil War, as young immigrants climb out of urban chaos and into the American dream.

On a freezing night in the middle of winter, Gaffney’s nameless hero is suddenly awakened by a fire in P. T. Barnum’s stable, where he works and sleeps, and soon finds himself at the center of a citywide arson investigation.

Determined to clear his name and realize the dreams that inspired his hazardous voyage across the Atlantic, he will change his identity many times, find himself mixed up with one of the city’s toughest and most enterprising gangs, and fall in love with a smart, headstrong, and beautiful young woman. Buffeted by the forces of fate, hate, luck, and passion, our hero struggles to build a life–just to stay alive–in a country that at first held so much promise for him.

Epic in sweep, Metropolis follows our hero from his arrival in New York harbor through his experiences in Barnum’s circus, the criminal underground, and the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, and on to a life in Brooklyn that is at once unique and poignantly emblematic of the American experience. In a novel that is wonderfully written, rich in suspense, vivid historical detail, breathtakingly paced, Elizabeth Gaffney captures the wonder and magic of a rambunctious city in a time of change. Metropolis marks a superb fiction debut.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Elizabeth Gaffney

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ELIZABETH GAFFNEY is an advisory editor of The Paris Review. In addition to teaching writing at New York University, she has translated from German The Arbogast Case (Thomas Hettche), The Pollen Room (Zoë Jenny), and Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany (Ika Hugel-Marshall). Her short fiction has appeared in North American Review, Colorado Review, Brooklyn Review, Mississippi Review, The Reading Room, and Epiphany. Metropolis is her first novel. To learn more about Elizabeth Gaffney, please visit her website at www.elizabethgaffney.netFrom the Hardcover edition.
Published March 1, 2005 by Random House. 496 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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But the narrative line is strong, and the text is enlivened by such brilliantly imagined characters as the aforementioned Dolans, the conflicted Geirmeir (haunted by memories of the family he left behind in Germany), and the Bill Sykes of this consciously Dickensian novel: freelance informer, mur...

Mar 08 2005 | Read Full Review of Metropolis: A Novel

The New York Times

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ne of the main characters in "Metropolis," Elizabeth Gaffney's first novel, is called Frank Harris.

Feb 28 2005 | Read Full Review of Metropolis: A Novel

The New York Times

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Her wary encounters with a crusading doctor named Sarah Blacksall (a character based on Elizabeth Blackwell) are nicely understated, her visits to a Chinatown abortion clinic genuinely harrowing.

Mar 13 2005 | Read Full Review of Metropolis: A Novel

BC Books

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After a few chapters you start to notice the workmanlike prose peeping through the piled-up historical detail, and once the offbeat love story gets going—that's right, it's an historical and a mystery and a romance novel—you begin to wonder just where this book is heading.

Sep 11 2005 | Read Full Review of Metropolis: A Novel

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