20 Novels Depicting Life in New York
The New York City is considered a shining example of sophistication, internationalism and creativeness all over the world. One of the major reasons behind this perception can be the Ellis Island and its important role in offering up various opportunities and hope of a better life to those in search of some prospects.
The “American Dream” has different meanings for different individuals, and rarely plays out as per expectations, still, today this region is considered a symbol for uniting together a planet’s worth of cultures. Even inhabitants of the United States know that other cities (it’s shocking but true, even those between the two coasts) still have plenty to offer, but the world as a whole still consider it with great appreciation. Hence, it’s not surprising enough that a cavalcade of media uses New York and its surrounding domains as the primary setting, sometimes even this place becomes a character in and of itself. The succeeding list samples, though not comprehensively in scope, a few that skilfully represent the city and its broad array of peoples and places, portraying this city as one of the hundreds of “melting pots” of the world.
- Washington Square (1880) by Henry James: In a nominal district lives a wealthy, widowed doctor with his daughter and his sister. The younger woman is approached by a suitor for many a times, but there arise a doubt over whether or not he loves her or the generous prospective inheritance, particularly considering her less-than-incandescent personality. Characterization takes precedent over plot and interests itself with the lives of the New York upper layer.
- Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893) by Stephen Crane: Maggie and her brother Jimmie need to take jobs in to support their deprived Bowery family after the deaths of their father and baby brother. When rumors swirl about her involvement with Jimmie’s friend Pete, she finds herself caught into the fringes of society and allegedly forced into prostitution. The cruel novel offers contemporary readers a glance at the lifestyle of city people as the American economy shifted from agrarian to industrial.
- The Rise of David Levinsky (1917) by Abraham Cahan: This heavy bildungsroman dig in to the life and times of a Russian-Jewish migrant anticipating for his own slice of the American pie. He starts off as a paddler and rise in a rapidly modernizing city. But, as per the nature, the money comes laden with unhappiness, dehumanization in the process – ending his story on a note of bitter irony rather than victory.
- The Age of Innocence (1920) by Edith Wharton: The 1921 Pulitzer winner dives into the twisty-turny machinations and manipulations of New York’s superior class. A big struggle happens between “old money” and “new money” battling it out for social authority in the aftermath of the Civil War. Readers are requested to access it as a ripe social commentary rather than the un-ironic idealizations of wealth and nastiness that plague the bookshelves.
- The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Considered the ideal Jazz Age novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus questions the idea of the American Dream. Narrator Nick Carraway watches impotently as his supposedly superior wealthy relatives and friends self-destroy around him. And in the middle of the storm swirls the mysterious, excited Jay Gatsby.
- The Thin Man (1934) by Dashiell Hammett:
Dashiell Hammett’s sexy noir description of New York City inspired both film and television series willing to capture his rich descriptions visually. The iconic Nick and Nora Charles (and their beloved fox terrier!) loitered the almost surrealist streets of the city on an important investigation. It can be said a defining novel of both New York city and detective literature.
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943) by Betty Smith: A young Williamsburg woman comes of age in Betty Smith’s semi-autobiographical début novel. The Irish-American Nolan family offers appreciable a peep into New York’s oft-marginalized immigrant scene. The story of the novel broken up into five books, follows young Francy from age 11 through 17 and plays off readers’ anticipations and perceptions of the American Dream.
- Invisible Man (1947) by Ralph Ellison: Anyone seeking more about the explosive eras shortly before the Civil Rights movement can refer to Invisible Man. None of the other bottle up the disappointments of the heavily ignored (if not outright abused) African-American communities in New York City and beyond with the same passion and urgency as does Ralph Ellison. The nameless narrator of the novel serves as a chillingly exact mouthpiece for the angry American underclasses.
- The Victim (1947) by Saul Bellow:
Another amazing, philosophical character study by Saul Bellow- a Nobel Prize winner. Asa Leventhal, the protagonist slowly yields to crippling paranoia after his sister asks for his help in caring for her ailing son. Set against a Staten Island backdrop, the writer explores the uneasy relationship between Jews and Christians living in proximity to one another.
- The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J.D. Salinger: This novel is iconic and ironic, although many readers fail to catch on to the latter – The Catcher in the Rye incessantly engages readers who relate to Holden Caulfield’s struggle to fit in, nevertheless satirical. He collides against mainstream New England society and the “phonies” therein, and one of his more humanizing scenes sets on a incursion into the Central Park Zoo. This novel is considered one of the greatest New York novels ever written.
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) by Truman Capote: Lula Mae Barnes flies from her sucking home life and runs away to recreate herself on the Upper East Side. As the indomitable Holly Golightly, she charms her way into upper society and earns a living off the generosity of besotted gentlemen of means. But the façade, as usual, cannot last forever, and her friendship with a neighbouring writer puts the truth crashing forward.
- The Bell Jar (1963) by Sylvia Plath:
Sylvia Plath originally published her only novel under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. This novel is largely autobiographical and chronicles the life of a bright young publishing ingénue as she sails to New York for an intern-ship. Nevertheless, her own internal demons come up to the surface and threaten everything she hopes to achieve.
- The Godfather (1969) by Mario Puzo: Cosa Nostra has to a great extent impacted American history and people, particularly during Prohibition. Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, the celebrated novel opened up the world of crime and how the crime syndicate operated and introduced them to the darker corners of culture of Italian-American. The fame of the novel attracted film-makers to make a beloved film.
- Great Jones Street (1973) by Don DeLillo: Rock star Barry Wunderlick grows bored with the debauched lifestyle and retreats to a Manhattan apartment for some quiet contemplation. Once his girlfriend appears possessing drugs of interest to both a terrorist cell and a gang, the tranquillity becomes increasingly tempestuous. Motivated by the likes of Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger, the main character regularly finds himself at odds with being treated as an idol and a artefact by the general public.
- Dancer from the Dance (1978) by Andrew Holleran: Amongst admirers of GLBTQIA fiction, this novel is noticeable for being one of the first to show the party culture of Fire Island. Almost0 a decade after Stonewall, he skilfully explored how gay men established their own identities in a world which is still a bit discomforted by their existence. The universal, transcendent hunt for meaning and contenting relationships stays one of the novel’s most powerful themes.
- The New York Trilogy (1985-1986) by Paul Auster: Fans of both post-modernism and detective fiction will find this story of slowly unravelling private investigators highly engaging and interesting. The underbelly of New York offer a suitably gritty, grimy background for Paul Auster’s experimentations in metaficticious narratives. City of Glass, the trilogy’s first instalment, demands provocative read.
- The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1989) by Oscar Hijuelos: Oscar Hijuelos won the Pulitzer Prize of 1990s for his contribution to the literary scene. For the Castillo brothers, New York seems as a utopia where their dreams of mambo stardom will turn into reality. After leaving their native Cuba, the pair gains success and starts setting their own more personal ends.
- American Psycho (1991) by Bret Easton Ellis: New York offers the appropriately superior setting for this brutal devaluation of corporate culture. Behind anti-hero Patrick Bateman’s slick, calculated outer part lay a sick, conniving socio-path with no qualms about committing acts of murder, necrophilia, rape and torture. This novel is not for the sensitive of stomach, but is certainly for those with a love of provoking satire.
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) by Michael Chabon: The beloved, iconic comic book heroes like The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and The Avengers (among others) all call New York City their home, and Michael Chabon pays homage to this common media image in his Pulitzer-winning novel. A European refugee discovers a home with his American cousin, and the pair lead their joint anger at the Nazi regime into a superhero tale.
- Between Two Rivers (2004) by Nick Rinaldi: The residents of a Battery Park boarding house grapple with destruction to the World Trade Center — both the bombing in 1993 and the fortifying events of 9/11. Their own unique stories begin coinciding and focussing light on the colorful characters living in urban areas. Over the time, a rich tapestry of love, loss, tragedy and comedy unveils as one microcosm shows the experiences of the human whole.
One Response to “20 Novels Depicting Life in New York”
Leave a Reply
News and Updates
Sign up to receive breaking news
as well as receive other site updates!
Articles Under Apple Section
Articles Under Design Section
- 10 Superbly Creative Hairstyles For Women For Daily And Special Occasions
- Things to Consider While Developing Successful Android Apps
- 20 Creative Humor Posters
- 42 Creative Modern Ads For Inspiration
- 25 Creative Wedding Invitations Designs
- 30 Fresh And Latest Photo Manipulation Art
- 21 Heart Touching Love Cards
- 35 Creative Imagination Vs Reality Art Work By Ben Heine
- Photoshop vs. Real
- 35 Creative HTML5 Websites
- 40 Creative Photoshop Images in Advertising
- 25 Cool Example of Fog Pictures
- 25 Humorous Business Cards
- How To Become A Professional Photographer
- 20 Creative Wine And Beverage Posters
Articles Under Media Section
- Little Known Facts About Mahatma Gandhi [Infographic]
- On The Phone
- What if Social Media were a Highschool?
- 20 Hot Male Models Using the Perfect Stripping Methods
- 15 Hottest NBA WAGs
- 25 Romantic Valentine Cards Examples
- Couple Kissing Pictures For This Valentine
- 35 Creative Vintage Computer Ads
- 8 Best Gaming Ads Of 2010
- List of Best Political Cartoons of 2010 for Christmas
- 10 Most And Least Brainy Cities In United States
- 25 Hot Male Models Photos
- Do’s And Don’ts on First Date – Funny
- Top Bollywood Actresses Ruling Magzine Covers
- 20 Novels Depicting Life in New York
Articles Under Microsoft Section
Articles Under Marketing Section
- 7 Tips To Get Hasty Payments From Your Client
- 20 Creative Wine And Beverage Posters
- How to Work with Different Breeds of Clients
- 7 Top Strategies to Make Anything Sell
- 10 Valuable Life Lessons Learnt from Bees
- Facebook hits Yahoo! Mail
- How Big Companies Utilize the Power of Social Media?
- 10 Ways to Show the World of Marketing You Care
- Fifteen Marketing Books Every Marketing Professional Should Read
- How can Internet Marketing Help Your Business to Grow
- How to Build an Effective Marketing Strategy
- Ingredients of an Effective Marketing Plan
- What Advice You Can Get From a Marketing Professional
- Difference Between Online And Offline Marketing
- Thirty Marketing Gurus and Their Mantras to Success