Friday, October 2, 2009
North River: A Novel
Pete Hamill has written a period novel set in Depression-era Manhattan, filled with descriptive language and well-drawn characters. His protagonist, Dr. James Delaney, is a general practitioner who cares for all his patients with skill and compassion; his practice encompassing many of his poverty-stricken neighbors and the local Mafiosi. Always the devoted physician, Dr. Delaney is even more intently focused on his work now that his personal life has received a double blow with the disappearance of his wife (a suspected suicide) and his daughter’s elopement with a foreign revolutionary. Then, during a cold and snowy winter, the ice that forms Dr. Delaney’s lonely existence begins to melt when he receives the unexpected gift of his three-year-old grandson, left on the doorstep by the doctor’s daughter. Needing someone to help him with the child’s care, the doctor hires an immigrant woman who soon becomes an inseparable part of this newly-formed family. The plot moves along agreeably to a satisfying conclusion. Here is a story that shows how love and good people can reign supreme.