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On Night's Shore

Silvis, Randall

100 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0312262019 / ISBN 13: 9780312262013
Published by Minotaur Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2001
Hardcover
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Very Good in Very Good jacket 8vo-over 7¾"-9¾" tall. Signed by Author Steel gray boards, sharp corners, mylar covered DJ, 338 pgs., clean, written on ffep.; 9.5" Tall; 338 pages; Signed by Author. Very Good+ in Very Good+ dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # A189

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Bibliographic Details

Title: On Night's Shore

Publisher: Minotaur Books, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

It is the summer of 1840--for some in New York City a season of prosperity; for others, another season of desperation.

Randall Silvis's On Night's Shore opens with one of the most spellbinding scenes in contemporary writing. A girl tosses her baby from a warehouse window, then follows the infant into the Hudson River far below. The only witness to this desperate act is a ten-year-old street arab named Augie Dubbins, a boy who survives by the motto, "In calamity, opportunity." Augie does what he can to make a few pennies from the girl's tragedy. In doing so he encounters another of the desperate ones, a struggling young journalist named Edgar Allan Poe, a poet and critic and newspaper hack whose penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time has not only stymied his advancement as a writer but has earned him more than a few enemies.

Poe, too, hopes to use the girl's misfortune to fatten his threadbare purse. His efforts to do so lead to the discovery of the body of yet another young woman, and the ensuing investigation of her murder soon entraps Poe in a mire of murder, greed, lust and power that stretches from the Five Points slums to the gleaming heights of Fifth Avenue.

But On Night's Shore is much more than just a page-turner. Here we see deep into the troubled psyche of Edgar Allan Poe, the father of all detective stories. We see the darkness that drove him, the demons that plagued him. We also see the tenderness with which he treated his young wife, soon to die herself, and his devoted, stalwart mother-in-law, and the avuncular kindness he lavished on Augie Dubbins, who in ten short years has witnessed more brutality and perversity than even Poe could imagine. And we see all of these characters entwined in the tentacles of a power struggle to control the fate of New York City, the sleazy underbelly of a political and business elite that speaks as much to today's society as it did to Poe's.

Seldom does an historical thriller so authentically recreate a time and place as does On Night's Shore. Not since E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime have readers been treated to such a rich cast of characters, both real and imagined, or to a story so suspenseful and compelling-all of it rendered in some of the most luminous prose being written today.

i0In this, his eighth book of fiction, Randall Silvis brilliantly bridges the gap between serious and popular literature. On Night's Shore is a stunning and haunting achievement.

Review:

Fans of Caleb Carr's historical mysteries will lap up this well-told tale of murder, mayhem, poetry, prose, and political corruption in mid-19th- century New York. The poetry and prose comes from Edgar Allan Poe, the mayhem from young Augie Dubbins, a street urchin befriended by Poe when he leads the writer to the body of a murdered girl trapped under a pier in the Hudson River. The unlikely duo join forces, visiting the darkest, dirtiest slums and opium dens of the city as well as its glittering mansions to track down the story behind the death of Mary Rogers, a shop girl whose connection with the power brokers of the city is at the heart of this literary mystery.

Augie's love for Poe, who seems like the father he never had, drives the narrative as strongly as the inner demons that beset the struggling poet, encountered here a decade before his final descent into the darkness he so brilliantly depicted. Although Poe's death is foreshadowed here (the story is told from the perspective of an Augie grown old after his own career as a writer), it doesn't detract from the immediacy of the story or the emotional resonance of the relationship between an unlikely pair of heroes this reader strongly hopes to meet again. --Jane Adams

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