The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee | #bookreview | @jonleewriter @grantabooks

From the back of the book

The ‘Father of Greater New York’ is dead. Shot outside his Park Avenue mansion in the year of our Lord, 1903. In the hour of his death, will the truth of his life finally break free?

Born to a struggling farming family in 1820, Andrew Haswell Green was a self-made man who reshaped Manhattan, built Central Park and turned New York into a modern metropolis. Now, at eighty-three, when he thought the world could hold no more surprises, he is murdered. As the detective assigned to the case traces his ghost across the city, other spectres appear: a wealthy courtesan; a broken-hearted man in a bowler hat; and an ambitious politician, Samuel, whose lifelong friendship was a source of joy and frustration.

In a life of industry and restraint, where is the space for love? As restlessly inventive and absorbing as its protagonist, The Great Mistake is the story of a city, and a singular man, transformed by longing.

My Thoughts

This book was a recent choice for my book group and I thought it sounded really interesting. I hadn’t heard of Andrew Green before I read this book but what a fascinating and inspiring man.

I loved the way the author told the story from different perspectives. Andrew himself of course, his housekeeper, his friends, the officer investigating the case, the lawyer defending the accused. All added a different aspect to the story, weaving together the different parts of Andrew’s life from different stages of his life, completing a rich tapestry.

Sometimes a book described as literary fiction can seem quite difficult to read, impenetrable and hard work. I think this is literary fiction at its finest. Beautifully written, elegant prose, captivating and utterly compelling.

The Great Mistake is published by Granta Books in hardback and paperback.
The paperback will be out in June.

About the Author

JONATHAN LEE is the author of the novels Who is Mr Satoshi?, Joy, High Dive, and — most recently — The Great Mistake. His novels have been translated into 15 languages, have appeared on international bestseller lists, and have been named best books of the year by publications such as The New York Times, the New Yorker, the WSJ, the Guardian, and many others. @JonLeeWriter

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