October 24, 2018

Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York by Francis Spufford

With Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York, English author Francis Spufford tries his hand at a first novel after having successfully written five non-fiction works.

We are immediately drawn into the world of New York city in the 1700s with language that could have been written during that time period. This is not an easy read with dense paragraphs and archaic vocabulary, but those who persist will be rewarded with writing of the first quality. Spufford has pulled off the challenge of writing as if in that time period but adding issues of homosexuality, the inequality of woman, slavery and race prejudice against those of darker skin.

Richard Smith arrives from England, with paperwork that says he is to be advanced a large sum of money in the New World. He becomes embroiled with two of the local money lender’s daughters, is robbed by a thief, befriends two well-connected young men and partakes in a theatrical work with his new acquaintances, all the while being questioned about his plans for the windfall that will shortly be his.

Smith’s journey takes the reader from high society, to church, to duels and debauchery in a panoramic view of life in the colonies under King George. Gird your loins and dive into this stunning book. Methinks you might just feel a sense of deep literary satisfaction with Golden Hill by Francis Spufford.

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