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Golden Hill Audiobook

Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York

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Publisher's Summary

  • Winner of the Costa First Novel Award
  • Winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize
  • Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize
  • Named "Novel of the Year" by the UK'S Sunday Times

The spectacular first novel from acclaimed nonfiction author Francis Spufford follows the adventures of a mysterious young man in mid-18th century Manhattan, 30 years before the American Revolution.

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 arrives at a countinghouse door on Golden Hill Street: This is Mr. Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion shimmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge sum, and he won't explain why, or where he comes from, or what he is 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?

Rich in language and historical perception yet compulsively listenable, Golden Hill is a story "taut with twists and turns" that "keeps you gripped until its tour-de-force conclusion" (The Times, London). Spufford paints an irresistible picture of a New York provokingly different from its later metropolitan self but already entirely a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love - and find a world of trouble.

©2017 Francis Spufford (P)2017 S&S Audio

What the Critics Say

“Nothing short of a masterpiece.” (The Guardian)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (154 )
5 star
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4.1 (143 )
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4.2 (142 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jay Day 08-05-17
    Jay Day 08-05-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "SIMON & SCHUSTER SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No one. The production was horrible The narrator couldn't keep her accents straight, using two different ones for the same character, she spoke way too fast as to be incomprehensible, and why use a female narrator when the vast majority of the characters are male? I think S&S was in a hurry and threw this together at the last minute.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Golden Hill?

    The book is lovely but the only thing memorable about the audio was turning it off.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sarah Borges’s performances?

    Yes. It's not her fault. The producer should be fired.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger at the producer and the publisher.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a terrific book and to have the audio be so awful is a real shame. The author and the narrator deserved better.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Brevitz 07-31-17
    R. Brevitz 07-31-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story, but . . ."

    This was a tantalizing story built around a secret and an intriguing personality. I love unexpectedness in a novel, and it is here in abundance. The tone shifts, pleasingly to me, from the brittle (plenty of drawing room repartee) to the deadly serious (sorrow, regret, fear, desire). These are matched very well to a vigorous plot that hurtles forward from one surprising event to the next. It's a fun listen.

    Except: narration is unsatisfying. Too many mispronunciations and misplaced emphases. Some of the voices she attempts are simply not believable. On the whole the narration was a distraction, not an asset. Golden Hill survives and still delights--but it could have been so, so much better if read by someone more at home in the language, and perhaps with a more mature voice.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maureen 07-25-17
    Maureen 07-25-17
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    "The narrator of this book, Ms. Borges, ruins it."

    This narrator's poor rhythm, uneven intonation and mispronunciation makes the story virtually impossible to decipher, let alone follow or enjoy. After three attempts and then hearing the word hyperbole pronounced "hyper bowl"...I angrily quit trying. ggggrrr...I want my credit back!

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 07-24-17
    Paul 07-24-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "started great, but fizzled out"

    this was not the breakthrough book I was led to believe. and the sex scenes were way too much for my tastes.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Baldwin 08-01-17
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    "Boring"

    Did not like that a Woman read this. Would have been better with a man. Story was boring. Too much superfluous detail.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Day Detroit, MI 08-16-17
    J. Day Detroit, MI 08-16-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A very good start"

    This was my first Audible book and I really enjoyed it. I thought the narrator did an excellent job with the different characters' coices.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Herr Santa Fe, New Mexico 08-01-17
    Bruce Herr Santa Fe, New Mexico 08-01-17 Member Since 2008
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    "So-so story, so-so narration"

    I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters, and found the conceit of hiding Smith's identity and mission throughout the book annoying rather than intriguing. And I agree with other reviewers who found the narration weak and the editing sloppy - there were a lot of mispronunciations, and I found the dialogue overly dramatic, at the expense of clarity. For example, I played Septimus's final words over and over again, and never could understand them. Overall, I think the book might have been a better read than listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin FREDERICK, MD, United States 07-15-17
    Martin FREDERICK, MD, United States 07-15-17 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    7
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    "Great View of NYC Everyday Life In The Late 1740s"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I did yesterday! My friend and I were born in NY State over seventy-five years ago, in different towns miles apart, along the Hudson river. Mysterious Mr Smith age 24 arrives alone in NYC with pop 7,000, from London, pop 70,000 and faces crisis after life threatening crisis without reveling why he is there.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Golden Hill?

    Early one morning Mr Smith took a one day trip from lower Manhattan to Tarrytown and back, up on the incoming tide and back on the outgoing tide. The purpose of the trip was to pick-up farm products, and passengers. The counting house master's eldest daughter wanted Mr Smith to be away from lower Manhattan for another reason. FYI The first bridge to Manhattan Island opened in 1848, 100 years after My Smith arrived in Manhattan.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I woke up at 3 am this morning wide awake and decided to listen to the last hour of the "Golden Hill" audio book. I'm glad I did! He came very close to being murdered again! and everything came together. I'm glad I didn't read the last chapter first.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My strong reaction is one of admiration for both the author and the narrator. Golden Hill is one of the very best of the about 100 audio books I've "read" since 2011.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Georgia Burns Atlanta GA 07-16-17
    Georgia Burns Atlanta GA 07-16-17 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An engaging tale perhaps told better by another narrator"

    The NPR review of the book guided me to this enjoyable novel. This is one of the few times I wished for words on the page rather than this sometimes distracting narrator. Who wants to correct the pronunciation of "hyperbole" in the middle of a story? The best part was the author's descriptive writing skill and clever turn of phrase. I also developed empathy for the main characters which makes or breaks the success of any listening experience for me. In the end, worth the credit.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. T. 07-17-17
    J. T. 07-17-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    145
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    "Disappointed"

    I Didn't like any of the characters or the plot. It just wasn't for me.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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