New York - Edward Rutherfurd

***** An unforgettable journey through the history of the Big Apple 

In this beautiful book, Edward Rutherfurd, specialist of family sagas, tells the story of the most important American city (and one of the most fascinating in the world), seen through the vicissitudes of the Master family, from the moment it was founded by Dutch (with the name of New Amsterdam) to the present day.
Rutherfurd, a native of Salisbury, to which he dedicated a book in the 80s (the beautiful “Sarum”), engages this time in narrating the lives of his characters in what is his city of adoption, New York.
Even if history itself plays a key role in this novel, leaving us a glimpse of the enormous work of research done by the author, its presence is discreet, not invasive, also because it is supposed that those who read the book already have some knowledge of it, to which, however, interesting details are added. History is however only the background on which the Masters move, showing them to us sometimes directly and sometimes through the eyes of characters associated with them. Through this family we learn about the contradictions and complexity of American society, from the moment of its birth until today, particularly those related to ethnic and religious minorities, different from each other (American Indians, blacks, Irish, Germans, Italians, Jews), but all united by the discrimination to which they have been subjected over the centuries. Some of these stories have happy endings; some are stories of resignation to the condition of their protagonists. All of them, however, are exciting and keep you glued to the pages, to know their outcome and eventually discover how these are linked by the common thread represented by a belt made of shells, a small work of art symbol of the love of a daughter for his father.
The final chapters set in the past decade are particularly moving, in which it is perhaps easier to identify with, as they are based on events still fresh in our memory like the 11th of September. Here in my opinion the author gives the best of himself transporting us into that New York, in the minds and souls of the people who lived through those tragic moments, just because he has lived them and the difference compared to the narrative of the previous centuries appears evident.
Whether you like or not New York, whether you love or not historical reconstructions, certainly you cannot remain indifferent to this intense, but quite smooth work. The pleasant feeling you get at the end of the reading, a mixture of satisfaction and melancholy, is actually typical only of the best books.

New York: The Novel on Amazon.com.