Authors are digging into the past more and more

Just as many classic writers who dipped into the past, contemporary ones like Pete Hamill, E.L. Doctorow, Kevin Baker, Caleb Carr, and Thomas Kelly are doing very much the same. Just as with James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, a book published in 1841 but set a hundred years before, Pete Hamill is setting his next novel over seventy years before, as he digresses on The Great Depression.

North River (Little, Brown and Company, 352 pages, $25.99), set in 1934, deals with a World War I vet who devotes himself to treating his poor neighbors in the West Village. Haunted by his wife’s death, readers will be filled with the familiar: Times Square, Coney Island, Little Italy, St. Patrick’s Cathedral — as Hamill places the reader into the Depression.

Publishers Weekly has said, “Hamill has crafted a beautiful novel, rich in New York City detail and ambience, that showcases the power of human goodness and how love, in its many forms, can prevail in an unfair world.”

His works include Forever, Tokyo Sketches, A Drinking Life, and Snow In August, among others.


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