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New York. 1868- Irish Beatrice is a 'hot-corn girl', selling corn-on-the-cob to passers-by, and picking their pockets into the bargain. German Georg, arriving in Manhattan on the run from a scandal - or perhaps a crime back in his native Hamburg, becomes a stableboy, tending circus-owner Barnum s menagerie, until he is framed for an arson attack and finds himself once again on the run. He falls into the hands of the Whyos, Beatrice's gang, with whom he is reborn as an Irish labourer before being led to take a job as a sewerman, unaware of the part in crime they have in mind for him. Happy in his new job, as he falls in love with Beatrice, whom the Whyos have selected to teach him to pass as an Irishman, all seems well, until the gang's leader chooses Beatrice as his First Girl and their criminal plans begin to become clear
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A hugely entertaining and richly realised literary historical first novel, set in the New York underworld of the 1860s, in the tradition of Caleb Carr's The Alienist and Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White. 'Mesmerizing... An extraordinary achievement' Daily Telegraph 20040315

About the Author

Elizabeth Gaffney is an editor at the Paris Review. She lives in New York. Metropolis is her first novel.


"* 'Gaffney has engineered a thrilling Brooklyn Bridge of a novel, at once old-fashioned and utterly modern, grand and charming, elegant and massive, imposing and delightful, carrying us in inimitable style across the rich, rank waters of New York City's history.' Michael Chabon * A wonderful recreation of the heady world into which so many Irish emigrants arrived to build new lives for themselves 150 years ago.' Irish Independent * '[An] engrossing tale of crime and romance...[a] splendidly bleak portrayal of the mid-Victorian city's underbelly' Guardian * 'A sprawling epic of a novel... this good old fashioned ripping yarn told with no little zest.' Glasgow Herald"

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