Literary Trail III – books based in and on the Big Apple

Simone de Beauvoir is apparently often quoted for maintaining that “There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless“, while Groucho Marx infamously declared that “Practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book – and does“. Here’s a ‘starter for ten’ list of some 40-odd works penned over the decades.


ADICHIE, Chimamanda Ngozi – Americanah, 10/10

AUSTER, Paul – Brooklyn Follies

AUSTER, Paul – The New York Trilogy

BALDWIN, James – Go Tell it on the Mountain

BARNES, Djuna – Nightwood

CAPOTE, Truman – Breakfast at Tiffany’s

CHABON, Michael – The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier and Clay

DeLILLO, Don – Falling Man

DOCTOROW, E.L. – World’s Fair

EGAN, Jennifer – A Visit from the Goon Squad, 10/10

ELLIS, Bret Easton – American Psycho

ELLISON, Ralph – Invisible Man

FITZGERALD, F. Scott – The Great Gatsby, 10/10

FOER, Jonathan Safran – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, 10/10 – A FAVOURITE READ

HANFF, Helene – Letter from New York

HELPRIN, Mark – Winter’s Tale

HIGHSMITH, Patricia – The Price of Salt (Carol), 6/10

HUSTVEDT, Siri – What I Loved

JAFFE, Rona – The Best of Everything, 8/10

JAMES, Henry – Washington Square, 10/10

KRAUSS, Nicole – The History of Love, 10/10

McCANN, Colum – Let the Great World Spin, 10/10 – A FAVOURITE READ

McCOURT, Frank – Angela’s Ashes, 10/10

McCOURT, Frank – ‘Tis

McCOURT, Frank – Teacher Man

McINERNEY, Jay – Bright Lights, Big City

MESSUD, Claire – The Emperor’s Children

MOORE, Liz – Heft, 8/10

O’NEILL, Joseph – Netherland

PLATH, Sylvia – The Bell Jar, 10/10

RAND, Ayn – The Fountainhead

ROTH, Henry – Call It Sleep

RUTHERFORD, Edward – New York

SALINGER, J.D. – The Catcher in the Rye, 10/10

SAPPHIRE, Precious, 9/10

SELBY, Hubert Jr – Last Exit to Brooklyn

SMITH, Betty – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

TARTT, Donna – The Goldfinch, 10/10

THOMAS, Matthew – We Are Not Ourselves, just discovered and added: 10/10 – A FAVOURITE READ

TOIBIN, Colm – Brooklyn, 8/10

WALLS, Jeanette – The Glass Castle, 8/10

WEST, Nathanael – Miss Lonelyhearts

WHARTON, Edith – The Age of Innocence, 10/10 – A FAVOURITE READ

WHARTON, Edith – The House of Mirth, 9/10

WHITE, E.B. – Here is New York

WOLFE, Tom – The Bonfire of the Vanities

YANAGIHARA, Hanya – A Little Life, added subsequent to nomination for Man Booker Prize, 10/10

YATES, Richard – Cold Spring Harbour, 7/10.

What else have I missed out? Thanks again to Shoshi’s Book Blog for suggesting many of these titles, and hoping we can continue to add even more, all additions gratefully received.

New York, oh New York…

Images taken from here, here and here.
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8 Responses to Literary Trail III – books based in and on the Big Apple

  1. Dom Nozahic says:

    Nice list and piece! The New York Trilogy is a 10/10 novel – you should read it 🙂 Also, I think there’s a typing error because you’ve got The Great Gatsby as a 10/10 book, but I think you meant 100/10 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. New addition: Last Exit to Brooklyn (by Hubert Selby Jr) – it’ll probably be my plane read!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh thank you very much. Had not heard of this author and just looked on Amazon – looks like this is not a read for the faint-hearted and will look forward to you writing about it on your return. I’m adding it to the above list right now. Happy holidays…..xx


  4. FictionFan says:

    Ooh, I started out fearing I’d have read none of these, but I’ve actually read 6 – phew! I guess it’s because NY is so huge and diverse that it would never have occurred to me to think of Brooklyn and Gatsby as sharing a location, or indeed that either of them were set in the same place as American Psycho!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know, that was what struck me when I first thought about books I could read that had a link back to NY. Am sure the list will continue to get longer over time too. Not sure will be able to tackle all of them this year, keep being assailed with list upon list. But fun to have the idea tucked away for the future… x


  6. Pingback: Location Reading: Books on Holiday | Shoshi's Book Blog

  7. Pingback: Literary Trail IV: “Shamrocks, St. Patrick and leprechauns” – The Begorrathon Reading Ireland month – March 2016 | Literary ramblings etc

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