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Francis Spufford

Autor(a) de Golden Hill

15+ Works 4,695 Membros 178 Críticas 5 Favorited

About the Author

Francis Spufford is also the author of I May Be Some Time. He was named Sunday Times (London) Young Writer of the Year and received the 1997 Somerset Maugham and Writers' Guild awards. He lives in London

Obras por Francis Spufford

Associated Works

The Worst Journey in the World (1922) — Introdução, algumas edições1,915 exemplares
Growing Up Weightless (1993) — Introdução, algumas edições360 exemplares
The Best American Essays 2003 (2003) — Contribuidor — 314 exemplares
Granta 77: What We Think of America (2002) — Contribuidor — 218 exemplares
Granta 67: Women and Children First (1999) — Contribuidor — 143 exemplares
Ice: Stories of Survival from Polar Exploration (1999) — Contribuidor — 60 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum



Golden Hill by Francis Spufford em Historical Fiction (Fevereiro 2017)


To be honest, this novel was not calling out to me when I picked it up, and that I read it now was mostly a matter of availability. That said, I'll give Spufford full credit for coming up with an ingenious scenario to allow for a Native American polity influencing United States' history in a sustained fashion.

As for the novel itself, the crisis in play is a cross between the planter overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, and the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, and the countdown is on for disaster. Into this situation is thrown one Joe Barrow, a police detective who, in the process of sorting out a murder that looks like a ritual sacrifice, takes the reader through the ins and outs of the Cahokia of the Spufford's imagination.

So, cutting to the point; did I actually like the story? Basically, yes. I do think that the length needed to build the setting conflicts a little with the demands of a murder thriller to keep things economical and direct. This is besides my sense that Barrow's personal climax is a little pulpy compared to the rest of the novel. Still, if one is interested in alternate history as a genre, and 1920s America as a setting, you do owe it to yourself to give this novel a try.
… (mais)
Shrike58 | 11 outras críticas | May 26, 2024 |
It's not often I finish a book I don't like. Did people in those days really capitalize random words when they wrote? I thought it had too many words, whether capitalized or not, and so I started skimming parts. That helped get me, finally, to the end.
dvoratreis | 61 outras críticas | May 22, 2024 |
Spufford has equalled his excellent novel of old New York, Golden Hill, with a tale set in a 1920s America whose Native American people, never decimated by disease as in our world, maintained their civilizations and came to a significantly different accommodation with the European invaders. The former nation of Cahokia, its capital city across the river from the tiny village of St. Louis, chose to enter the Union as a state in the nineteenth century and is now a bustling center of commerce and a crossroads to the Western states. Detective Joe Barrow, an Indian but an outsider with origins in a Nebraska orphanage, and his white partner Phineas Drummond come across the body of a white man “sacrificed” in grisly fashion at the top of the city’s tallest skyscraper. Was it the work of radical Native nationalists? Or of a cabal of white supremacists stoking the flames of racial tension?

Barrow and Drummond’s investigation has them interviewing everyone from wealthy industrialists to witch doctors, from Klan members to hereditary (but now ceremonial) royalty. All have both open and secret agendas, and no one is entirely who they seem to be. Can the murder be solved before the KKK marches into the central plaza and the city breaks down into chaos?

This being by Spufford, the noir setup frames a story about the individual and his responsibility to respond to the moral failings of his time. In Golden Hill, the issue was the slave trade. In Cahokia Jazz, the issue, put most simply, is race—but more broadly, the balance one must find between loyalty to individuals and loyalty to one’s people. It’s difficult to describe how rich this book is in world-building detail, how emotionally convincing, how vivid in painting a Jazz Age metropolis that’s like Chicago but also like nothing we’ve seen: a city that makes the real-life cultural fusion of New Orleans seem simple by comparison.

Spufford keeps writing the books that I would try to write if I were a writer, and writing them better than anyone could humanly expect.
… (mais)
john.cooper | 11 outras críticas | May 8, 2024 |
Is this a novel? I've never read a novel though with 60 pages of footnotes. Is this a history book? History books don't usually mix a cast of entirely fictional characters with known figures from history. Spufford himself describes it as a 'half-way house on the borders of fiction'.

It's clever. Each section of the book is prefaced by the relevant section of mid-20th century Russian economic and political history. Each is then succeeeded by a few chapters of, well, vignettes really, in which we meet factory workers, lovers, members of the scientific elite, managers.... With one exception, we never revisit these characters, nor are their stories complete tales. What we are given is a slice from their lives, one which, when read with the others, and with the accompanying history provides a rich and illuminating picture of Russia's planned economy and its effect on day-to-day life.

You'll learn about economics, and politics, but most of all, you'll learn about people, and how by being unpredictable, tired and human they, together with ideologies that were sometimes shortsighted or perverse prevented the realisation of the Great Soviet Dream.
… (mais)
1 vote
Margaret09 | 31 outras críticas | Apr 15, 2024 |



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