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Book of the Week

Book of the Week: Golden Hill

May 17, 2017

Book of the Week: Golden Hill

One November evening, a handsome, charming young stranger arrives at the counting house in Golden Hill Street with a suspicious but compelling proposition. In his pocket he holds an order for a thousand pounds that he wishes to cash, but will not explain why. Should the New York merchants trust him, or risk their credit and refuse to pay? This is New York before it was New York, where a young man with a fast tongue can reinvent himself, fall in love, and find a world of trouble…

“The best 18th-century novel since the 18th-century”

Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill is a huge hit among readers and critics alike, winning the Costa First Novel Award 2016 and the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017, for works which evoke the spirit of a place. On winning this award last week he said, “It’s a joy to find that what I built in my head seems solid enough for others to walk in, in their imaginations.”

The place in Spufford’s novel is New York, 1746, which he “conjured from maps and analogies and a few contemporary pictures, supported by walks round and round Lower Manhattan with my eyes fixed on the pavements rather than the skyscrapers.” Spufford populates his 18th-century New York with a host of mysterious and captivating characters, who embark on a plot sparkling with energy and filled with twists and turns, making this novel impossible to put down.

  • Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
    Golden Hill

    New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan Island. 1746. One rainy evening, a charming young stranger fresh off the boat from England pitches up to a counting house on Golden Hill Street, with an order for a thousand pounds in his pocket that he wishes to cash. But can he be trusted?

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