5 Great Novels Set in New York

By TripFiction | Apr 24, 2021
North America > United States > New York > New York City

Have you ever thought about researching your next trip to New York by diving into a novel? Of revisiting a trip you have made through the eyes of an author (especially now when we can't travel)?

Here we list 5 top reads (across a selection of different genres) that will transport you to the Big Apple

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith


Betty Smith's debut novel is universally regarded as a modern classic. The sprawling tale of an immigrant family in early 20th-century Brooklyn, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of the great distinctively American novels.

The Nolan family are first-generation immigrants to the United States. Originating in Ireland and Austria, their life in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn is poor and deprived, but their sacrifices make it possible for their children to grow up in a land of boundless opportunity.

Francie Nolan is the eldest daughter of the family. Alert, imaginative and resourceful, her journey through the first years of a century of profound change is difficult - and transformative. But amid the poverty and suffering among the poor of Brooklyn, there is hope, and the prospect of a brighter future.

2. Everyone is Watching by Megan Bradbury


New York: A city that inspires. A city that draws people in. A city where everyone is watching, waiting to see what will happen next.
1967. Robert Mapplethorpe knows he is an artist. From his childhood home in Queens he yearns for the heat and excitement of the city, the press of other people's bodies. He wants to be watched, he wants to be known.
1891. Walt Whitman has already found fame, and has settled into his own sort of old age. Still childlike, still passionate, he travels with his friend and biographer Bucke to the city he has always adored, the scene of his greatest triumphs and rejections.
1922. Robert Moses is a man with a vision. Standing on the edge of Long Island he knows what it could become. Walking down a street in Brooklyn he sees its future. He is the man who will build modern New York.
2013. Edmund White is back in New York. It's the city of his youth, of his life and loves. He remembers days of lazy pleasure, nights of ecstasy and euphoria. But years have gone by since then.
Everyone is Watching is a novel about the men and women who have defined New York. Through the lives and perspectives of these great creators, artists and thinkers, and through other iconic works of art that capture its essence, New York itself solidifies. Complex, rich, sordid, tantalizing, it is constantly changing and evolving. Both intimate and epic in its sweep, Everyone is Watching is a love letter to New York and its people – past, present and future.

3. Little Deaths by Emma Flint


Haunting, intoxicating and heart-poundingly suspenseful, Little Deaths is a gripping novel about love, morality and obsession, exploring the capacity for good and evil within us all.

It's the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery.

Noting Ruth's perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation. Sent to cover the case on his first major assignment, tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke at first can't help but do the same. But the longer he spends watching Ruth, the more he learns about the darker workings of the police and the press. Soon, Pete begins to doubt everything he thought he knew.

Ruth Malone is enthralling, challenging and secretive – is she really capable of murder?

4. The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis


For most New Yorkers, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.
For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future. It is 1928, and Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. Though not even the prestige of the school can override the public's disdain for a woman artist, fiery Clara is single-minded in her quest to achieve every creative success--even while juggling the affections of two very different men. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they'll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression...and that even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.
By 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay's life. Dilapidated and dangerous, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece--an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.

5. Manhattan Noir, ed by Lawrence Block


Stories by: Jeffery Deaver, Lawrence Block, Charles Ardai, Carol Lea Benjamin, Thomas H. Cook, Jim Fusilli, Robert Knightly, John Lutz, Liz Martínez, Maan Meyers, Martin Meyers, S.J. Rozan, Justin Scott, C.J. Sullivan, and Xu Xi.
Lawrence Block has won most of the major mystery awards, and has been called the quintessential New York writer, although he insists the city's far too big to have a quintessential writer. His series characters--Matthew Scudder, Bernie Rhodenbarr, Evan Tanner, Chip Harrison, and Keller--all live in Manhattan; like their creator, they wouldn't really be happy anywhere else.
A pleasing variety of Manhattan neighborhoods come to life in Block's solid anthology...the writing is of a high order and a nice mix of styles.

United States North America New York City New York Books

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Written by TripFiction
Getting ready for your next trip? Matching a book with location Why not search out a novel that is set in your destination of choice and see the locale through the eyes of an author. Really get under the skin of the place you are about to visit or reminisce through fiction!

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by Shane

Scottsdale Segway Tour

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