Friday, September 05, 2008

Book Blurb: North River

North River: A Novel
By Pete Hamill
(c) 2007; 2008 Trade paperback release
Back Bay an imprint of Little, Brown and Co.

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.
This was another of the Hachette books with an excerpt available which I read before the review copy was sent to me and now I can't wait to get back to it. I found the scene between grandfather and grandson so touching. They were strangers to each other and did not even speak the same language. I fell in love with both of them through that scene. The tenderness of the grandfather in spite of the stress he was under on so many fronts and the courage and curiosity of the toddler who, waking in the care of a strange man was yet trusting enough to accept his new circumstance with enough serenity that he was able to learn to communicate both his sorrow about his missing Mama and his wonder at his first sight of snow.

This was all done with a straightforward prose with the POV solidly in the grandfather, Dr. James Delaney's mind. Where I believe it stays throughout the novel except for the cases of some letters. The prose is stripped of all sentimentallity and yet elicits strong emotion with every scene. Well, you can see for yourself:

As announced in this post, this is the seventh of twelve Book Blurbs I plan to do for the review copies I received from Hachette books last month. There will also be more substantial book reviews for each of them as either Ed or I read them.

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