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This Side of Brightness (SIGNED)

McCann, Colum

3,053 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0805054529 / ISBN 13: 9780805054521
Published by Metropolitan Books, New York, 1998
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Cul de Sac Books (Clarkston, GA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

F/F in mylar. A 1st edition/1st printing in fine condition with full number line. Signed by author on title page. There is no wear to jacket. The jacket is not price clipped, the covers are clean and bright and the edges are sharp. No tears or creases. The binding is straight and tight. NO remainder mark, NOT ex. lib. Bookseller Inventory # 008086

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Bibliographic Details

Title: This Side of Brightness (SIGNED)

Publisher: Metropolitan Books, New York

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

From the author of Songdogs, a magnificent work of imagination and history set in the tunnels of New York City.

In the early years of the century, Nathan Walker leaves his native Georgia for New York City and the most dangerous job in America. A sandhog, he burrows beneath the East River, digging the tunnel that will carry trains from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Above ground, the sandhogs--black, white, Irish, Italian--keep their distance from each other until a spectacular accident welds a bond between Walker and his fellow diggers--a bond that will bless and curse the next three generations. Years later, Treefrog, a homeless man driven below by a shameful secret, ures a punishing winter in his subway nest. In tones ranging from bleak to disturbingly funny, Treefrog recounts his strategies of survival--killing rats, scavenging for discarded soda cans, washing in the snow. Between Nathan Walker and Treefrog stretch seventy years of ill-fated loves and uninted crimes. In a triumph of plotting, the two stories fuse to form a tale of family, race, and redemption that is as bold and fabulous as New York City itself. In This Side of Brightness, Colum McCann confirms his place in the front ranks of modern writers.

Review:

This Side of Brightness weaves historical fact with fictional truth, creating a remarkable tale of death, racism, homelessness--and yes, love--spanning four generations. Two characters dominate Colum McCann's narrative: Treefrog, a homeless man with a dark and shameful secret, and Nathan Walker, a black man who came north in the early years of the century to work as a "sandhog," digging the subway tunnels beneath Manhattan. Tunneling is perhaps the most dangerous occupation a man could have; in the close, dark, and dangerous pits far beneath the city streets, differences such as color or ethnic background cease to matter, and Walker soon becomes friends with his crewmates: two Irishmen and an Italian. Then an explosion in one of the tunnels literally blows Walker and three other men up through the earth and into the East River. Walker survives, but his best friend Con O'Leary is never found. Leary leaves behind a wife and young daughter whom Walker marries many years later.

Walker's tale is told in alternating chapters with Treefrog's, who, before his slide into homelessness, chose a hazardous profession--this one high up in the bright sunlight--as a construction worker building skyscrapers. But madness has brought Treefrog out of the light and back to the tunnels that Walker helped dig as he scrapes out a meager existence among the drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, and petty criminals that make up the homeless community. But the grimness of McCann's tale is leavened by the beauty of his prose and the intimations all through the book that, even on this side of darkness, redemption is possible.

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