Golden Hill

  • by Francis Spufford
  • Narrated by Sarah Borges
  • 10 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Costa First Novel Award
Winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize
Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize
Named "Novel of the Year" by the UK'S Sunday Times

The spectacular first novel from acclaimed nonfiction author Francis Spufford follows the adventures of a mysterious young man in mid-18th century Manhattan, 30 years before the American Revolution.
New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan island, 1746. One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat arrives at a countinghouse door on Golden Hill Street: This is Mr. Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion shimmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge sum, and he won't explain why, or where he comes from, or what he is planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money. Should the New York merchants trust him? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him...maybe even kill him?
Rich in language and historical perception yet compulsively listenable, Golden Hill is a story "taut with twists and turns" that "keeps you gripped until its tour-de-force conclusion" (The Times, London). Spufford paints an irresistible picture of a New York provokingly different from its later metropolitan self but already entirely a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love - and find a world of trouble.


What the Critics Say

“Nothing short of a masterpiece.” (The Guardian)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

No one. The production was horrible The narrator couldn't keep her accents straight, using two different ones for the same character, she spoke way too fast as to be incomprehensible, and why use a female narrator when the vast majority of the characters are male? I think S&S was in a hurry and threw this together at the last minute.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Golden Hill?

The book is lovely but the only thing memorable about the audio was turning it off.

Would you be willing to try another one of Sarah Borges’s performances?

Yes. It's not her fault. The producer should be fired.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger at the producer and the publisher.

Any additional comments?

This is a terrific book and to have the audio be so awful is a real shame. The author and the narrator deserved better.

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- Jay Day

Great story, but . . .

This was a tantalizing story built around a secret and an intriguing personality. I love unexpectedness in a novel, and it is here in abundance. The tone shifts, pleasingly to me, from the brittle (plenty of drawing room repartee) to the deadly serious (sorrow, regret, fear, desire). These are matched very well to a vigorous plot that hurtles forward from one surprising event to the next. It's a fun listen.

Except: narration is unsatisfying. Too many mispronunciations and misplaced emphases. Some of the voices she attempts are simply not believable. On the whole the narration was a distraction, not an asset. Golden Hill survives and still delights--but it could have been so, so much better if read by someone more at home in the language, and perhaps with a more mature voice.
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- R. Brevitz

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-04-2017
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio