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North River: A Novel

( 48 )

Overview


One snowy New Year's Day, in the midst of the Great Depression, Dr. James Delaney—haunted by the slaughters of the Great War, and abandoned by his wife and daughter—returns home to find his three-year-old grandson on his doorstep, left by his mother in Delaney's care. Coping with this unexpected arrival, Delaney hires Rose, a tough, decent Sicilian woman with a secret in her past. Slowly, as Rose and the boy begin to care for the good doctor, the numbness in Delaney begins to melt. Recreating 1930s New York with...

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North River

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Overview


One snowy New Year's Day, in the midst of the Great Depression, Dr. James Delaney—haunted by the slaughters of the Great War, and abandoned by his wife and daughter—returns home to find his three-year-old grandson on his doorstep, left by his mother in Delaney's care. Coping with this unexpected arrival, Delaney hires Rose, a tough, decent Sicilian woman with a secret in her past. Slowly, as Rose and the boy begin to care for the good doctor, the numbness in Delaney begins to melt. Recreating 1930s New York with the vibrancy and rich detail that are his trademarks, Pete Hamill weaves a story of honor, family, and one man's simple courage that no reader will soon forget.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Hamill's quietly engrossing novel skillfully conjures the gritty world of lower Manhattan during the Depression, weaving elements of suspense, comedy and romance as Jim Delaney navigates the melting pot city. Strozier reads Delaney's part with gravelly and wise authority. He transforms his tone convincingly as Delaney, a newly widowed doctor and war vet, finds his bitter heart starting to thaw when he is left to care for his grandson Carlos. Delaney hires a Sicilian immigrant, Rose, to help care for the child, and Strozier offers a credible take on her thickly accented, husky but womanly voice. Strozier also gives impressively distinctive voices to a long cast of well-drawn characters such as a good-hearted mobster, a brash young Jewish hospital doctor and assorted recent Irish immigrants who depend on Delaney's comforting ministrations. Listening to Strozier read Hamill's evocative descriptions of Delaney walking through Union Square, Greenwich Village and Chinatown and his encounters with a wide variety of New York denizens, one can almost feel that former Manhattan resurrected. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 23). (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316007993
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 6/4/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 241,855
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Pete Hamill is a novelist, journalist, editor, and screenwriter. He is the author of 15 previous books including the bestselling novels Snow in August and Forever and the bestselling memoir A Drinking Life. He writes a column for the New York Daily News and lives in New York City.

Biography

Throughout his colorful career as a writer, New York City has been a constant backdrop and inspiration for Pete Hamill -- from his success at several New York newspapers and magazines to his look back at A Drinking Life to his latest sweeping novel about a man gifted with immortality in the city he calls home: Forever.

Born in Brooklyn in 1935 as the first of seven children to Irish immigrant parents, Hamill attended Catholic schools throughout his childhood. More in tune with the city streets than the schoolroom, he dropped out at 16 to labor in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a sheet metal worker, and from there signed up with the U.S. Navy, where he was able to eventually complete his high school education. The G.I. Bill of Rights helped him gain admission to Mexico City College in 1956-1957, where he was a student of art and design.

While Hamill fell in love with Mexico (and would eventually come to consider it his second home), his interest in design brought him back to New York to study at Pratt Institute. However, in 1960, he made the fateful career move that would change his life: taking a job as a beat reporter for The New York Post. Hamill's pavement-pounding work made him a crafty chronicler of city life -- from the grimy streets of the crime beat to the chaotic uprisings of the 1960s -- and he graduated to columnist. Soon after, he made the slightly scandalous move to the Post's rival paper, The New York Daily News. Perhaps one of Hamill's most intriguing achievements in New York journalism is the fact that he served as editor-in-chief of both papers -- the city's two most notoriously competitive dailies.

Hamill's nonfiction books have resonated with readers craving more than a few column inches. His 1994 memoir, A Drinking Life, was, as Publishers Weekly noted, "not a jeremiad condemning drink... but a thoughtful, funny, street-smart reflection on its consequences." Turning his attention to other lives, Hamill has also written tributes to idols Frank Sinatra (1998's Why Sinatra Matters) and Mexican painter Diego Rivera (1999's Diego Rivera).

Hamill has also enjoyed critical and commercial success as a fiction writer. His 1997 novel, Snow in August, was an instant New York Times bestseller. On the gritty coming-of-age story, the Times observed, "Mr. Hamill has told versions of this story many times, in fiction and journalism. But in his new novel...Mr. Hamill adds magic. Hamill is not a subtle writer, but his gift for sensual description and his tabloid muscularity fit this page turner of a fable."

2002's Forever brings Hamill's street smarts and near-encyclopedic knowledge of New York City together with his gift for spinning a story. Perhaps his most ambitious work yet, the novel traces the history of Manhattan through the eyes of a man who has watched it unfold for the better part of two centuries -- thanks to an otherworldly wish he is granted. It's likely Hamill's secret wish as well.

Good To Know

Since the 1950s, Hamill has had a keen interest in Mexico and considers it his home away from home. As a reporter, he covered the events in Tlatelolco in 1968, the Olympic Games that followed, and a major earthquake in 1985. For six months in 1986, he served as editor of The Mexico City News.

He is married to Japanese journalist Fukiko Aoki and has two grown daughters -- one a poet, the other a photographer for the Arizona Republic in Phoenix.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York, and Cuernavaca, Mexico
    1. Date of Birth:
      1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      Mexico City College, 1956-1957; Pratt Institute
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding!

    North River is one of my favorite novels in the last year. I loved the way it takes us into old New York and lets us feel the sights and sounds as they were then. The tale of the doctor making housecalls does indeed seem like a fantasy in the light of today's healthcare.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2009

    Great multifaceted novel. Characters are believable and sympathetic.

    Wonderfully crafted with an unusual plot. Setting becomes alive in this historic fiction.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    North River

    I have not been disappointed with Pete Hamill's books. This one is a great read, great story, great ending. I loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Pete is now my favorite

    This is onle the second book of Pete Hamill's I have read and it easily solidified him as my all-time favorite author. I have ready many, many authors and many, many styles but Hamills gift for story telling is the most beautiful I've experianced. At first glance, this is not the kind of subject matter I would be prone to pick up; the time period alone would usually tern me off instantly. However, I found this to be one of the most touching books I have ever read. I laughed aloud, cried, swore in anger and wished that I could simply tuck myself away in a room with an armchair, a fire place and an endless supply of Hamill's prose.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    If you like reading about NYC

    As usual Pete Hamill delivers an interesting look into the lives of every day New Yorkers and their interplay with the growth of the city.Connecting characters from other writings was fun to see. He really has a great feel for a great city.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2009

    MUST READ!!

    This book was very tender and carefully written.

    Loved it!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved this book! A must read.

    I read Forever (very good), then Snow in August (excellent) and then North River. It was my favorite of his works. A beautiful and touching love story. Character development is excellent and I enjoyed the interaction between the various characters. A wonderful read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2009

    Takes one to New York in the 30's

    This is an excellent book that transports one to New York 70 years ago. It has characters that are full and an easy writing style that lulls one into reading the book. Very recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Simplistic Love Story

    This is the first book that I read by Pete Hamill and was impressed with his writing style. Though this was not a sit on the edge of your seat type of novel it was never boring. It was interesting to read about New York City during the depression era. The characters and the plot were interesting. Delaney is a doctor who lives alone and comes home to find his grandson, Carlito on his doorstep. He hires an immigrant women, Rose to help care for Carlito. They begin to become a family and Delaney is beginning to have romantic feelings for Rosa but the are from separate classes, he a doctor, she domestic help which wasn't acceptable in that era. It was a nice love story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2008

    Couldn't Put It Down!

    This a very well-written novel with a good story line, a great read. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2008

    Terrific

    If you enjoy period pieces, especially about New York, the Depression, WWII and early medical practices then you'll like 'North River'. A heartwarming story of love and redemption, of crime and corruption. Hamill does a fine job with this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a reviewer

    In the 1930s Dr. James Delaney lives in Greenwich Village still suffering from battle fatigue syndrome as a medico during WWI. His life has recently been further shattered by the disappearance of his wife and their daughter Grace leaving for Mexico. Grace left behind her toddler Carlito so he hires illegal alien Sicilian Rose to care for his grandson.---------------- Meanwhile he provides medical treatment to his indigent neighbors many of whom cannot pay him in cash so he accepts whatever they can remit including meals or in some cases just a thank you. When he saves the life of gangster friend Eddie Corso, another hood Frankie Botts makes it clear that the general practitioner made a big error. Delaney knows Botts cannot threaten him directly, but can hurt him through Carlito and Rose, the two people who have made him feel human again. On top of that the FBI demands he hand over Grace, who he has not been seen or heard from since she dumped her son on him. Soon life will become even more complex for James with a family reunion.----------------- NORTH RIVER is a terrific historical fiction that brings to life the Great Depression through predominantly the flawed James, who eighteen years after the Great war ended still suffers from the conflict. The story line is fast-paced and quite vivid as the audience can picture the impoverish masses living near the NORTH RIVER (New Yorkers¿ nickname for the Hudson). Pete Hamill is at his best with the deep look back at a bygone era starring a protagonist who learns to live again through the love of his grandson and the child¿s caretaker.--------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2014

    My brother said "it's a must read". He was right!

    I was captured on page one, and remained so throughout my trip through this gripping novel. Mystery, and twists and turns. A page turner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    Extraordinary story

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I felt as though I was living in New York in the depression. Wonderful characters. I was very sorry that it had to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Good read.

    This book surprised me with its character development. First read of this author. Will definitely consider others.

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  • Posted July 13, 2010

    A nice romantic story

    This is a great read about life and love "back in the day."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2010

    Depression Era New York - life goes on.

    Well written, interesting story. Great portrayal of 1930's New York. A doctor who really cares about his patients and is left taking care of his grandson after his daughter leaves home. He hires a woman to watch the child and everyone benefits. There are secrets and old hurts to be dealt with. I liked this a lot more than Snow in August, more realistic.

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  • Posted February 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Winner!

    My husband bought this book, read it and casually mentioned I might like it. I got into it immediately, finished it in 2 days and it has stayed with me ever since. I really loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone interested in a good read.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read

    I just recently discovered Pete Hamill (Snow in August) and thoroughly enjoy his writing style and stories. This story also "gets you hooked" and keeps your interest throughout, but it needed something with a bit more impact or a bit more drama to occur. I would receommend the book and I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of life during the depression in New Yourk.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2008

    Riveting

    Great prose by a great newspaper veteran.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews

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