“My favorite novel of 2000 must be Stephen Amidon ’s “The New City,” an ambitious attempt to update America’s long quest for the great good place.
Set in East Coast suburbia, circa 1975, the book brightly refloats the wishful idealism that informed the post-Watergate era, but is wisely ballasted with those recurring themes of compelling fiction: greed, ambition and lust.
The ending is heartbreaking but true-to-life, and we finish the book having gazed deeply and darkly into the American looking glass.” Colin Harrison, The Hartford Courant.
BOOK OF THE YEAR: Ottakars Bookshops.
BOOKS OF THE YEAR include: Los Angeles Times, Sunday Times, Washington Post, Independent, Glasgow Herald, Chicago Tribune
Bold Type Magazine: Stephen Amidon on writing The New City
“Powerful and perceptive.” The Washington Post.
“A novel to devour and be devoured by.” John Sutherland The Sunday Times
“Amidon’s book is an honest and searching look at the human relationships that are at the root of abstract categories like race and class and at the centre of often equally abstract communities, whether urban or suburban, real or imagined. It reminds us that while environments can be rigorously planned for maximum uplift, there is no accounting for human behaviour.” Tom Vanderbilt LA Times
“Stephen Amidon’s extraordinary fourth novel…The most obvious comparison is with Tom Wolfe, although the novel is closer in texture to Dreiser’s An American Tragedy. Like his naturalist predecessor, Amidon explores the ways in which our motives are never quite our own; the sense that the random is constantly undermining whatever scripts we have tried to write for ourselves.” Graham Caveney The Independent
‘Amidon drives the narrative forward with rare assurance, gripping his readers with a sense of mounting catastrophe…pathos combines with sharp social satire.” David Robison, Sunday Telegraph
“a powerful page-turner.... it will be worth waiting to see how many more home runs he hits.” Alan Mahar New Statesman
“Many of my books were devoured feverishly over a weekend in one long gulp (Anthony Burgess’s Earthly Powers, for instance, and Moss Hart’s Act One), some were deliberately metered out so I didn’t finish them too quickly (The Bonfire of the Vanities, and The New City by Stephen Amidon), and others I laboured over and worked my way through in the belief that I would be a better person having finished them (one example being Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections – and I wasn’t).” Dylan Jones, The Daily Mail
“A Utopian thriller in which the best features of humanity are revealed as being uncomfortably close to the worst…This is an ambitious book, but Stephen Amidon is a clever enough writer — composed, elegant and confident — to realize his own intentions.” David Utterson, TLS
“Riviting…In its energetic exploration of prejudice and in its sheer dramatic power, “The New City” is a potent, resonant novel.” Sherri Hallgren Pitsburg Post Gazette
“Amidon’s plot is so tightly and ingeniously constructed that the book becomes absolutely riveting” Newsday.
“Large, impressive, highly intelligent…in the best tradition of American realism that goes back at least to Dreiser, and includes also Sinclair Lewis, John O’Hara, John P. Marquand, the underrated Louis Auchinchloss and Updike at his best…very satisfying. It is a pleasure–and a relief–to read a novelist whose prose…is free from fourishes, decoration for cleverness’s sake, and self-admiration; a nocelist who had the ability to tell a story and create convincing characters about whose fate one cares.” Alan Massie, The Scotsman
“Although this is a longish work, its lucid prose and the cliffhanging quality of its chapters make for a swift, compelling read. Plotting, pacing, heightening of tension, climatic resolution; all these tools of the novelist’s trade are employed with supreme craftmanship. Like the town it describes, the story is planned and constructed to perfection.” Martyn Bedford, Literary Review.
“Amidon has a gift for creating characters and capturing the unstated, whether sexual or racial…he uses the canvas of the American Dream, which never quite dies despite experience to the contrary, for a powerful exploration of race, wealth, and ambition…There are obvious comparisons with Tom Wolfe, but Amidon’s style is leaner, more measured. His characters are more complex, drawn honestly from life, rather than emblems of an age.” Toby Moore, The Express.
“Amidon brilliantly dissects a Watergate-era American shaken by public scandal, failure in Vietnam and the emergence of the Plastic Ono Band, interweaving the public and personal relationships of three families and two generations at one turbulent moment in history. By the end, belief in the Presidential myth and John Lennon’s clothes are not the only things that have been lost.” GQ
“A gloriously old-fashioned saga of ambition and betrayal, idealism and dismay…Amidon controls his intricate plot with great skill to provide a hugely gripping and satisfying read, full of astonishing set-pieces. His publishers are right to compare him to John Updike and Tom Wolfe. “ Mark Sanderson, Time Out.
JOANNA COLES interview in The Times
Interview by Mark Campbell
“Amidon’s well-developed characters are human and deeply flawed; his novel stands as a modern allegory on race relations, suburban living, and social engineering. Thought-provoking and timely.”
Christine Perkins. Library Journal
The Edge ”Growing Up in the New City”
BUY THE NEW CITY FROM AMAZON