I’m not generally a reader of historical fiction but since the talented Frances Spufford has offered up his first novel, I opened Golden Hill and I am not sorry. He sets the story in New York, 1746.
In “My Darling Detective” Norman successfully blends several genres into an entertaining, warm-hearted whole. It is at once a family drama, cold case detective story and WWII historical fiction deftly bound together with just enough humor. The characters are charming and vivid and the setting (Halifax, 1977) is atmospheric.
This book is a winner on several levels. The bicycle’s progressive influences on American life are manifold, and Guroff manages to tell the story with a convincing thoroughness and a prose style that never drags. The bicycle improved mobility for the working class, allowed women greater freedom and a more practical mode of dress. Cyclists were instrumental in getting the awful 19th century road improved, and the list goes on. For what is a relatively brief book, the notes and bibliography are impressive.
This is a brief, but beautiful little novel made from the simplest stuff. The narrator is a bartender in late middle age. The suburban bistro he works at is falling apart and over the course of a few days he tries to patch things together. In the process he ruminates over his position and life in general. This is Fabre’s ninth novel but the first in English translation.