If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere. One of New York's five boroughs, Manhattan is the most densely populated landmass in America. Its busy streets have provided inspiration for thousands of artists, including writers. Here are nine enticing books that will make you feel like a local.
Age of Innocence
By Edith Wharton
Written as an "apology" for her earlier publication, House of Mirth, this book earned Edith Wharton a Pulitzer Prize in 1921—the first Pulitzer Prize ever given to a woman. A panorama of upper-crust New York in the 1870s, it is still high in demand at libraries and bookstores across America.
By Irini Spanidou
A snapshot of three months in New York's SoHo in the 1970s, Before probes the life, love and loss of aspiring writer Beatrice as she undergoes changes in her relationship with Ned, her painter husband.
By Jonathan Lethem
Set on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Chronic City involves a circle of friends—a faded child star, a cultural critic, a hack ghostwriter of autobiographies and a city official. The New York Times named Chronic City one of 10 best books of the year for 2009.
By Jill Ciment
Ruth and Alex are in their twilight years and still very much in love when they find themselves—along with their dachshund Dorothy—in need of a new home. Set in the months just after 9/11, Heroic Measures is sure to make you laugh, cry and love.
Let the Great World Spin
By Colum McCann
Let the Great World Spins opens with a small figure walking a tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974 New York. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in this stunningly lyrical and intricate portrait of a city and its people.
The New Yorkers
By Cathleen Schine
An ode to New Yorkers and their dogs, The New Yorkers strings together disparate stories connected only by the Upper West Side. Then, the summer of 2003 brings a blackout—and unexpected new directions. A heartfelt and curiously endearing read.
By John Wray
William Heller is a 16-year-old boy who takes us on a journey beyond New York itself and into a mind that hopes for better things, including saving the world from global warming. With a surprising lilt in the narrative, John Wray pays homage to Catcher in the Rye without missing a step in his own story.
One Fifth Avenue
By Candace Bushnell
If One Fifth Avenue teaches us anything, it's that all is fair in love and real estate. Here, the wealthy and eccentric go to blows over an art deco Greenwich Village building and the uproarious characters that inhabit it.
By Patrick McGrath
Charlie Weir is a psychiatrist specializing in trauma victims. When his misjudgment in the treatment of one of his patients has fatal consequences, it affects his family and his marriage in devastating ways. In this thriller, nothing is as it seems, and when you finish, you will only wish you had a little more.