Member Reviews

I’ve been a big fan of B.A. Shapiro’s work since I read The Art Forger when it came out. Metropolis is a departure from her recent forays combining the art world with mystery. The setting is largely Metropolis, a large historic brick storage facility near MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

At the start we know someone has died in Metropolis under mysterious circumstances but we don’t know who or why it happened. The story follows 6 characters who have ties to the building: the building owner, an employee, a disgraced lawyer, a graduate student, a wealthy wife, and a photographer. All characters have their own struggles and several even reside in their storage units for different reasons.

I love the Cambridge and Boston setting. I worked in the area for some years and now live north of the city so it was easy to envision the areas. The story is told in short chapters in each character’s viewpoint, which makes it read quickly. But this does fragment the read a little bit and it takes longer for things to happen. I found myself intrigued by the characters and what might happen, but it was hard to connect with them because of the frequent perspective shifts. Shapiro has such a wonderful way of writing. The style is tight and intricately plotted.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC. All thoughts are my own.

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This was a very intriguing tale that involved multiple characters and all of their stories lives all converging together. I have to say while reading this book it actually made me want a storage unit there for myself just to go and have a private and quiet reading space. Is that crazy??? Loved how the characters and story de elopement were written. So many themes in this book and somehow they all work and make sense in the story. I enjoyed this book even more than I expected and will be recommending it to friends.

Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Publishing for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Metropolis introduced me to author B.A. Shapiro's work for the first time, and the novel features a diverse cast of characters. Serge, a street photographer who lives in his unit; Zach a former drug dealer who owns the Metropolis and purchases everything in Serge's unit and plans on developing all of the photographer's undeveloped photos to see what clues they contain. Marta is completing her dissertation while on the run from ICE. Liddy, an abused wife, and mother, who appears to be the cause of the accident; Jason, a lawyer who practices law out of his unit, and Rose, the office manager who takes money under the table from tenants who have no choice but to live in their units.

Throughout the book the story is told through the eyes of these culturally diverse characters, as we wonder, was what happened in the Metropolis an accident, or wasn't it?

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This masterful novel of psychological suspense from the New York Times bestselling
author of The Art Forger follows a cast of unforgettable characters whose lives
intersect when a harrowing accident occurs at the Metropolis Storage Warehouse in
Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The characters have a variety of backgrounds: they are different races; they practice
different religions; they’re young and they’re not so young; they are rich, poor,
and somewhere in the middle. As they dip in and out of one another’s lives, fight
circumstances that are within and also beyond their control, and try to discover the
details of the accident, Shapiro both dismantles the myth of the American dream and
builds tension to an exciting climax.

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Metropolis is a five-story storage facility in downtown Boston. Six strangers are connected with it in mysterious ways. All have issues to be resolved. Then an incident happens at the facility shining a light on some of the shady dealings happening there.

If you enjoy in-depth character studies of people having hard times, Metropolis is the perfect book for you. However, I was expecting more of a traditional mystery to solve. So, depending on what you are looking for in a book, your rating may be higher than my 3 stars.

By the way, The Art Forger by the same author is an awesome historical fiction mystery that you shouldn’t miss!

Thanks to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.

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Metropolis is everything I wanted from Anxious People without the achingly, unrealistic, clever, annoying characters. Metropolis brings together a cast of random characters who all cross paths at the Metropolis storage unit. Zach owns the place and we start as he is selling off the contents of the units for an unknown reason. As each unit is revealed we learn about its owner: Serge - a photographer using it as a dark room; Jason - a lawyer using it as his office; Liddy - a socialite in an abusive marriage using the unit to preserve her children's rooms; Marta - a Venezulean immigrant hiding because her visa has expired. They are all using these units in unorthodox ways due to Rose, the office manager who looks the other way for a payment.

It takes a while before we see how all of the characters intersect and at first you wonder how they will come together but when they do, it's so compelling. This was a book I did not want to put down. When you have a multiple POV with six characters, I often find myself frustrated because I am more invested in one story than another. That was not the case here. Each one of these characters has such an interesting backstory and is a compelling character in their own right. The actual incident that brings them together takes a while to get to but I was so entertained along the way and on the edge of my seat to see where each road took me. When the event does happen it's pretty shocking and the repercussions for the characters gave me such anxiety. I was so invested in their lives and I have to say the end was quite satisfying. There is a great twist that I did start to suspect but was still incredulous when it did. Great writing and complex compelling characters you don't want to miss in this one!

Thanks to Algonquin books for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.

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Zach owns the storage facility that hosts the six diverse people who tell their stories in this novel about how we live and the value we place on our stuff. Someone has fallen to the bottom of the elevator shaft- no spoilers from me- and each of the characters has the chance to provide their back story and their present on the way to the answer, Serge, Rose, Liddy, Marta, Zach, and Jason each have a reason for being there. It will make you think every time you pass one of these facilities. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.

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Not what I would typically pick up. I really became interested in these characters and how they all came to be at this storage facility and how their lives became entwined. Short chapters and multiple views keep the story moving quickly and make for an easy read.

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I'm a big B.A. Shapiro fan and was so excited to see another title coming from her. I love that her books tend to center around Boston (my home city!) and it's fun to read all the landmarks. Metropolis follows the lives of six characters who either rent or are connected to the self-storage facility and how their lives intersect, even more so after an accident occurs in the building.

While the story was interesting, and Shapiro did a wonderful job tying all of the stories together, I was really hoping for a bit more mystery. I thought the characters were all really well-developed and it was easy to picture each one of them.

All in all, it was a good read. Fans of her work will enjoy it and those new to her work will want to read more from her.

4/5 stars
Thank you to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review!

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“A repository for memories and treasures and secrets and junk. Things to be honored. Things someone forgot about or was just too lazy or sentimental to throw away. And all these people. Did they know each another? Were there friendships, love affairs?”

With elements of the board game Clue, the tv show Storage Wars and some Gordon Gecko sprinkled in just for fun, I could almost hear the units’ metal doors rolling up. B.A. Shapiro had this reader hooked from the first page of her stunning new mystery, Metropolis.

The plot swirls around a horrific accident which occurs at the Metropolis Storage Warehouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and encompasses six unforgettable characters. A brilliant undocumented immigrant, a former drug dealer-turned property owner, an affluent and abused wife and mother, a down on his luck attorney, a street photographer, a struggling office manager - all searching for something or someone. Their stories intersect, creating a web of desperation, lies, and love, which steer the story toward a propulsive and unexpected ending.

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I was excited to read Metropolis

I loved the idea of a diverse group of strangers all coming together in connection to one event simply because they own a storage unit. Unfortunately, the book did not hold up to its promise. The writing was clunky and repetitive. How many times did I need to read that there was an elevator accident in a baseball stadium that was <em>just like</em> this one? It really read like the book was written in pieces then taken apart and put back together. It had very little flow.

Was it supposed to be a suspense novel? The blurb made it seem like it was but the odd choice to present it out of chronological order removed any suspense or anticipation. Yes, there was an accident involving an elevator that is hinted at early on but when it happens we are removed from the scene and then just read about the aftermath. It was very strangely plotted and paced.

What was the strangest was that no character really felt real.

The street photographer storyline was a cute idea---imagine finding the next Henri Cartier-Bresson or Vivian Maier in an abandoned storage unit but poorly executed. Zach, who isn't a photographer becomes obsessed with developing the pictures on a really flimsy premise--he is worried there may be incriminating photos in there from his days as a weed dealer--and a huge chunk of Zach's part of the book is describing him developing film in his bathroom. Then when he tries to show them, there are some predictable yet not terribly believable obstacles (the gallery suddenly closes down after booking the show??) but not to worry, the newspaper's apparently incredibly influential and tuned in art critic shows up to the makeshift show in the Metropolis and saves the day.

The idea that Zach would have to give his building to the man who fell in the elevator really didn’t make much sense. Nor did the fact that he would have to pay capital gains tax on the “sale”. That was explained poorly and I don’t feel it was accurate. It also didn’t make sense that he had apparently been the best weed dealer in the city but no one knew and he never seemed to get in trouble? Why not just have him inherit the building from some mysterious uncle and let everything unfold from there?

No one in academia would be impressed by Marta/Mercedes’ dissertation topic. We know people who start out on top almost always stay on top. I heard her race/starting line metaphor as a child back in the 1990s. She might be a wealthy woman who never had to think about financial and class privilege (despite being an immigrant from Venezuela where her father was murdered??) but no university would sponsor someone to come to a university from overseas to complete a doctorate with that thesis. Maybe 60 or more years ago. Was the point to drive home the differences between the people of Metropolis and how Zach was falling behind? We already knew that and honestly, it wasn’t an important detail to the rest of the book. We also didn’t know a ton about his family background. He made a lot of money as a drug dealer, does that make him from means like Marta thinks? There is a brief mention of how his parents probably wondered how he afforded his loft which to me implied that his family of origin was not contributing to his life financially and would be very aware of costs.

The man survives the freak accident and makes a largely full recovery and then blackmails his wife into staying with him? What? Why? Make it make sense.

Rose’s character was possibly the most believable, she was distracted by her family troubles and didn’t get an inspection on the elevator when she should have but her child’s escalation from “he doesn’t do drugs to shot in a gangland shootout” seemed a little rush, glib and unnecessary. She find stolen goods from the Metropolis in her son's closet which didn't make sense either--if he is a 14 year old criminal/drug addict, why didn't he just sell them right away? Why hang onto a laptop and a camera. It seemed like a way to point out that Rose didn't think the camera had much value but why?

It was hard to connect with the characters because nothing anyone did or their backstories made much sense. The skipping around in time made the book strangely difficult to read for one that was written on a very basic reading level. Random people like Zach’s girlfriend and family were mentioned briefly then floated away. People either behaved in the most stereotypical way ever or suddenly announced feelings with no lead-up. Why did everyone love Marta?

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The main characters are all connected to Metropolis, a self storage warehouse. A multitude is hidden inside these rooms. Add in an owner with a past and an office manager with issues and behaviors of her own and you have a wonderful mix of characters. B. A. Shapiro skillfully introduces us to these people and their issues which include immigration, drugs, theft, domestic abuse, among many others. There is so much to take in and discuss that it should become a favorite of book clubs.

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I always wondered what was going on at storage facilities. Do people really dump their stuff and only come back when they need something or when they no longer need the space? I had to use such place to store my dorm room stuff when I was away for summer break. One day I arrived and next time I was there it was to pick my my belongings. But listening to true crime podcasts too frequently, I started to think again: is there something fishy going on in storage facilities?

** Go to first page of Metropolis ** Now I don’t need to think too much about the possibilities out there. Some people use it as office, some use it as dark room, some use it as a shrine to her kids, some use it to run away from ICE. I don’t know how much of it is legal, but it looks like people can get extremely creative with their use of space. No one expected to know what others store in their rented sanctuaries, but it became impossible when “an accident” happened. Suddenly multiple lives that wouldn’t cross paths under normal circumstances were intertwined.

Metropolis shows you how a place that was meant to provide anonymous convenience to people turns into a place of twisted relationships and unexpected support. Metropolis shows you not judge a book by its cover. Metropolis shows you all the reasons why you should get your elevators inspected frequently and install CCTV in common areas if possible😉

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It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a book that I literally could not put down. I think the way the story unfolds around six individuals and placed in six-story 100-year-old storage unit would make a great play. A near fatal incident in one of the elevators begs the question - who is at fault and is it an accidental or planned. I couldn’t read fast enough!!

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B.A. Shapiro’s Metropolis is the kind of book that reminds us that there are so many spaces and people we just brush past. Most of us don’t need to store (or hide) possessions in storage facilities. They’re usually temporary spaces. Certainly, most of us don’t need to live in storage facilities. As we travel from home to work to our third spaces and back, few of us see the homeless or the jobless or the stateless. Metropolis focuses all our attention on a Boston storage building and straight onto people who, all for their own reasons, find refuge in a place most of us wouldn’t look twice at.

Metropolis is told from the perspective of several characters and from two different time periods before and after an accident involving the Metropolis building’s elevator. It jumps straight into the aftermath by first showing us an auction attended by Zach, the former owner of the Metropolis. He is raising money for legal fees and other expenses by auctioning off the unclaimed property in the building. As the auctioneer directs the procedings, we see each unit through his eyes. We see rooms full of dog houses, the contents of a teenagers’ bedroom, a darkroom filled with undeveloped film, a lawyer’s office, and rooms that have clearly been lived in, even though the building’s not rated for that.

The story’s perspective then shifts to refocus on our other narrators months before the auction. There’s Rose, the building’s former manager, who takes extra money to rent out two (later three) of the units for people to live in. We meet Jason, previously a high flying lawyer now reduced to working any case he can get from a room in the storage facility. There’s Laurent, a gifted photographer suffering from PTSD and undiagnosed illnesses. Laurent and Marta, a Venezuelan refugee and gifted sociology graduate student, both live in the Metropolis because it offers safety and anonymity. The last narrator we meet is Liddy. Initially, she rented a unit at the facility to store her children’s belongings after their awful father shipped them off to boarding school in Switzerland. It’s Liddy’s efforts to escape her husband that bring trouble down on everyone’s head.

Readers, I was engrossed from the minute the auctioneer started opening doors to let the punters have a peek. This book scratches that itch we feel when we sense a story behind an abandoned object by telling us how they came to be there, and how they were abandoned. I don’t want to say too much because a big part of the pleasure of reading this book is learning everyone’s secrets. But I will say that each character is a marvelous study in how the pressures of money and jobs and fear and desire can push people into places they never imagined they might end up.

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Fantastic book that features an interweaving cast of characters set in a Boston storage facility. This is one of my favorite modes of storytelling and is often copied (and mistaken). B.A. Shapiro does an excellent job featuring each character individually and telling a compelling story.

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This tale begins with a death due to an elevator malfunction in a large storage facility in Boston. A wide variety of people rent space there, and each has a story to tell. Multiple perspectives and timelines slowly reveal the truth behind the tragic event. Fans of multi-layered stories and mystery will enjoy this.

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Loved this book! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Metropolis is the name of an old self storage facility located in Cambridge Massachusetts. When the novel begins, the contents of each abandoned unit are being sold via auction :"as is." We quickly meet the last owner of the facility as he decides to bid on some of the contents. This leaves us with so many questions - primarily, What Happened!

Through a series of flashbacks we are introduced to a cast that will be hard for you to forget. A variety of people, mostly down on their luck, seeking the storage facility as an answer. All of the personal stories are extraordinarily interesting and weave together a thrilling and fast paced plot. B.A. Shapiro is the author of The. Art Forger and if you are familiar with her work you can understand when I say that each character was vivid, complex and compelling.

Before long, we learn of the event that caused the premature closing of the warehouse. The only question is, who is at fault? I highly recommend this book, it kept me up all night ! If you like interesting characters, unique thrillers and mysteries and generally love well written stories! #Metropolis #Algonquin #BaShapiro #NetGalley

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by B.A. Shapiro
Pub Date: May 17, 2022
Workman Publishers
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. Metropolis is a contemporary fiction novel about six individuals who, for one reason or another, are connected to the Metropolis Storage Warehouse in Boston. Throughout the story, the lives of the six characters intertwine or connect directly or indirectly until an accident forces them all into a messy situation.
Unfortunately, this book was not a hit for me. Character development was off and the plot just didn't feel right.
3 stars

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Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy.

I loved this book, and its clever setup of socially unrelated - but physically connected - people from various backgrounds. They're connected via a building of storage units. The characters are compelling: an immigrant, a wealthy woman, a solo (and pointedly ethical) attorney, an older man dealing with mental health challenges, and both the owner of the building and his administrative assistant. One character is actually studying the advantages of growing up in various strata of society, which really brings the point home.

Well done, highly recommend.

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