New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan island, 1746. One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat pitches up at a counting-house door in Golden Hill Street: this is Mr Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion simmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge amount, and he won’t explain why, or where he comes from, or what he can be planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money. Should the New York merchants trust him? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him; maybe even kill him?
Praise from the Desmond Elliott Prize
“It is a pleasure to see a notably academic author unhitch their imagination from the ties of pure fact to unleash fiction of wickedly diverting incident and intent. A pastiche? A picaresque? A romp? All, and none: Spufford has assumed elements from each and refashioned them, with insouciant erudition, to modern purpose: a homage to the eighteenth century as richly meaningful for the twenty-first, balanced as it is on the twin totems of love and money.”
About the Author
Francis Spufford was born in 1964. He is the author of five celebrated books of non-fiction. The most recent, Unapologetic, has been translated into three languages; the one before, Red Plenty, into nine. He has been longlisted or shortlisted for prizes in science writing, historical writing, political writing, theological writing, and writing ‘evoking the spirit of place’. His first novel. Golden Hill, was published in 2016 and won the Costa First Novel Award, the Ondaatje Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize. In 2007 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He teaches creative writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and lives near Cambridge.