The Great Mistake
‘A great novel of New York’
– Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs To You
The new novel from the New York Times-bestselling author of High Dive
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.
‘Jonathan Lee has taken the bare facts of a nearly forgotten life and turned them into a rich and unforgettable story’
– Jon McGregor, author of Reservoir 13
‘A meditation on the meaning of success, and a magical escape from the twenty-first century that sent me back feeling wiser and more hopeful’
– Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens
‘A wonder and a delight’
– Tea Obreht, author of The Tiger’s Wife
Wily, virtuosic, very beautiful - an intimate portrait of a public man that also serves as an X-ray of America. The Great Mistake is a great novel of New York, in which the shaping of public space becomes inextricable from the loneliness, longing, and ferocious ambition of a single, damaged man -- Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You A great novel of 19th-century New York. A meditation on the meaning of success, and a magical escape from the 21st century that sent me back feeling wiser and more hopeful -- Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens A wonderful, compelling, finely-tuned and deeply loveable novel, with a central character who is all of those things too. Jonathan Lee has taken the bare facts of a nearly forgotten life and turned them into a rich and unforgettable story -- Jon McGregor, author of Reservoir 13 Few writers working today have Jonathan Lee's range or eye for detail. Fewer still are capable of roaming minds and histories with such bittersweet, richly detailed ease. A wonder and a delight. -- Tea Obreht, author of The Tiger's Wife A highly satisfying mix of mystery and character portrait, revealing the constrained heart beneath the public carapace. * Kirkus * Elegiac and elegant, inviting and refined. The reader is immersed in [a] world that grows more dense with longing, regret and foreclosed possibilities... Lee's prose is thick with an emotional awareness that recalls the writing of Henry James * The Times * Not a novel of grand deeds, but of grand imagination... quietly but intently ambitious * Guardian * Seriously entertaining * Sunday Times * [A] stylish, finely wrought mashup of mystery and history, which paints a dynamic portrait of both man and metropolis * Mail on Sunday *
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