The World of Tomorrow

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Pub Date 05 Sep 2017 | Archive Date 01 Dec 2017

Description

One whirlwind week of love, blackmail, and betrayal follows three brothers through teeming prewar New York in this "entertaining . . . outsized . . . big, expressive debut" (Wall Street Journal).

June 1939. Francis Dempsey and his shell-shocked brother, Michael, are on an ocean liner from Ireland bound for their brother Martin's home in New York City, having stolen a small fortune from the IRA. During the week that follows, the lives of these three brothers collide spectacularly with big-band jazz musicians, a talented but fragile heiress, a Jewish street photographer facing a return to Nazi-occupied Prague, a vengeful mob boss, and the ghosts of their own family's revolutionary past.

When Tom Cronin, an erstwhile assassin forced into one last job, tracks the brothers down, their lives begin to fracture. Francis must surrender to blackmail or have his family suffer fatal consequences. Michael, lost and wandering alone, turns to Lilly Bloch, a heartsick artist, to recover his decimated memory. And Martin and his wife, Rosemary, try to salvage their marriage and, ultimately, the lives of the other Dempseys. Meanwhile, with the Depression receding, all of New York is suffused with an electric feeling of hope, caught up in the fervor of the World's Fair and eager for good times after a decade of deprivation.

From the smoky jazz joints of Harlem to the opulent Plaza Hotel, from the garrets of vagabonds and artists in the Bowery to the backroom warrens and shadowy warehouses of mobsters in Hell's Kitchen, Brendan Mathews brings the prewar metropolis to vivid, pulsing life. The sweeping, intricate, and ambitious storytelling throughout this remarkable debut reveals an America that blithely hoped it could avoid another catastrophic war and focus instead on the promise of the World's Fair: a peaceful, prosperous "World of Tomorrow."

One whirlwind week of love, blackmail, and betrayal following three brothers through teeming prewar New York in this "entertaining . . . outsized . . . big, expressive debut" (Wall Street Journal)

"A masterfully crafted novel . . . Comic, violent, and moving in equal measure."-John Irving

"As rich and raucous as the city it celebrates."-O., The Oprah Magazine

"Admirably fearless . . . Mathews has talent in buckets."-New York Times Book Review
One whirlwind week of love, blackmail, and betrayal follows three brothers through teeming prewar New York in this "entertaining . . . outsized . . . big, expressive debut" (Wall Street Journal).

...

Advance Praise


“Brash, bold, completely entertaining, and dazzling in its evocation of time and place, Brendan Mathews’s splendid debut offers pleasures on every page.”


—Andrea Barrett, National Book Award–winning author of The Air We Breathe and Ship Fever


 


“If immersion in a time and place through colorful and sensuous descriptions; or prose crackling and reeling, effervescent and beguiling; or disparate characters fully formed by their humanity under the pressures of a particular time; or vivid details of a smoky jazz club, Park Avenue mansion, and a downtown art scene are what make a historical novel set in New York City during the year of the World’s Fair successful, then Brendan Mathews is triumphant. I loved this debut novel for its rich and playful language, its multilayered and unpredictable story, and its all-too-human characters.”


—Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books


 


“What a beguiling debut Brendan Mathews has given us in The World of Tomorrow: clever, smart, ambitious, richly textured, and moving.”


—Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize–winning and New York Times bestselling author of Everybody’s Fool


 


“What a book! The World of Tomorrow is a panoramic tour-de-force, a huge undertaking peopled with convincing characters and animated by a persuasive historical accuracy. But beyond all that, my fascination was with the way Mathews assembled the novel, sifting and endlessly resifting his characters like sand, as life itself piled up right in front of me. The grim realities of America on the cusp of a second World War will be recognizable, but in this capable writer’s hands, the individual characters—passionate, secretive, naïve, lucky, unlucky, and sometimes hapless—remain full of surprises to the last. They exist not against the backdrop of history, but tangled up in its complex, cruel, or absurd demands, desperate to find whatever space is allowed them for intimacy.”


—Ann Beattie, PEN/Malamud–winning author of The New Yorker Stories



“Brash, bold, completely entertaining, and dazzling in its evocation of time and place, Brendan Mathews’s splendid debut offers pleasures on every page.”

...


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ISBN 9780316382199
PRICE $28.00 (USD)

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