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.

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What the Critics Say

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An engaging tale perhaps told better by another narrator

The NPR review of the book guided me to this enjoyable novel. This is one of the few times I wished for words on the page rather than this sometimes distracting narrator. Who wants to correct the pronunciation of "hyperbole" in the middle of a story? The best part was the author's descriptive writing skill and clever turn of phrase. I also developed empathy for the main characters which makes or breaks the success of any listening experience for me. In the end, worth the credit.
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- Georgia Burns

Great View of NYC Everyday Life In The Late 1740s

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I did yesterday! My friend and I were born in NY State over seventy-five years ago, in different towns miles apart, along the Hudson river. Mysterious Mr Smith age 24 arrives alone in NYC with pop 7,000, from London, pop 70,000 and faces crisis after life threatening crisis without reveling why he is there.


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

Early one morning Mr Smith took a one day trip from lower Manhattan to Tarrytown and back, up on the incoming tide and back on the outgoing tide. The purpose of the trip was to pick-up farm products, and passengers. The counting house master's eldest daughter wanted Mr Smith to be away from lower Manhattan for another reason. FYI The first bridge to Manhattan Island opened in 1848, 100 years after My Smith arrived in Manhattan.


Which scene was your favorite?

I woke up at 3 am this morning wide awake and decided to listen to the last hour of the "Golden Hill" audio book. I'm glad I did! He came very close to being murdered again! and everything came together. I'm glad I didn't read the last chapter first.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My strong reaction is one of admiration for both the author and the narrator. Golden Hill is one of the very best of the about 100 audio books I've "read" since 2011.


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- Martin

Book Details

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