How does a place become a city? Whose stories will survive and whose will be lost? How do you know if you truly belong?
It is 1800. On desolate, marshy ground between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River, a man builds a house and a city is born ...
This masterful debut novel spans Chicago's tumultuous first century, showing how a city is made- by a succession of vivid, sometimes villainous individuals and their cumulative invention, energy, and vision.
We meet the city's unacknowledged founder, a descendant of colonisers and slaves; witness the dispersal of the indigenous Native Americans; hear stories of an entrepreneur, an engineer, a courageous female reporter, and a corrupt alderman; and track the lives of immigrants from all over the world, as they struggle for acceptance in a country they have built.
Chicago, its inhabitants and its history are brought to dazzling, colourful life in this epic tale that speaks of not just one city but America as a whole, and of how people come to find their place in the world.
'A sprawling epic ... An absorbing fictional chronicle of a city and its place in American history.' -Antonia Senior, The Times 'Book of the Month' 'The rise of Chicago in the 19th century provides the frame for a trove of colourful stories and characters in this entertaining debut novel ... Carr has a sure touch, and in many extended anecdotes, his narrative skills show exceptional detail, pacing, and tension. A solid storyteller enlivens a rich patch of American history.' -Kirkus 'An enticing debut ... a gritty and entertaining fictional history of a great American city.' -Publishers Weekly