Winner of the 2021 Brooklyn Public Library Prize for Non-Fiction.
A symphony of contemporary New York through the magnificent words of its people―from the best-selling author of Londoners.
In the first twenty years of the twenty-first century, New York City has been convulsed by terrorist attack, blackout, hurricane, recession, social injustice, and pandemic. New Yorkers weaves the voices of some of the city’s best talkers into an indelible portrait of New York in our time―and a powerful hymn to the vitality and resilience of its people.
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A symphonic choir of voices rising from the five boroughs… the city is hopping, punching, reeling, dancing, thrumming, honking, thriving… Taylor is as skilled a writer of literary nonfiction as I have ever read.
As gorgeous, cacophonous and shocking as New York itself. Like those great oral historians Studs Terkel and Ronald Blythe, Craig Taylor has the gift of drawing out the most idiosyncratic confidences, creating a magical, uproarious and sometimes terrifying portrait of life in the ultimate cityOlivia Laing, author of The Lonely City
A fine and fearless follow-up to Londoners―fine because it’s so thoughtful and revealing, fearless because the author’s method is to engage strangers in conversation that quickly becomes oral history… A compelling portrait of New York and a must-read for residents and visitors alike.
An engrossing, multihued ‘oral portrait’ of New York City as told by the people who live there… Expertly edited and arranged, these striking snapshots make clear that in New York, ‘the people are the texture.’ Admirers of the Big Apple will be enthralled.Publisher’s Weekly
Craig Taylor corrals under one roof so many of the remarkable characters who populate ‘the city that never sleeps’ that it amazes me anew. The author blends scores of marvellous human stories, told in each individual’s own words, into a kind of magnificent chorus of human striving, which sometimes swells to an absolute crescendo in New York.Irish Examiner
A monumental and beautiful testimony to a city and to life itself. Joseph Mitchell, one of the great chroniclers of New York and whose work Taylor wonderfully continues, once profiled an unusual man named Joe Gould who said, more or less, that by overhearing the conversations of New Yorkers you could know the world and all its history. And this is what Craig Taylor has done: not just reveal a city, but the human spirit that lights the city; that spirit, which despite its flaws and madness, seems in the end to always wish to transform chaos and hatred into meaning and love.Jonathan Ames, author of The Extra Man
An incredible achievement. Insightful, funny, surprising, profound, moving and honest. This could be the great American novel―and it isn’t even a novel.Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine
Jaw-dropping…enthralling… Start spreading the news: Taylor’s book is a stunning work of modern social history.The Independent
The people are the texture of New York… and there are 75 of them in New Yorkers, speaking in their own voices of their own experiences. Taylor is Canadian, an outsider: his love of New York is plain, his ability to listen extraordinaryErica Wagner, New Statesman
A teeming oral history… [This] kaleidoscopic portrait captures the city’s thrilling lexical diversity, as well as moments of grace, compassion, cruelty, and racism.New Yorker
Books about NYC risk falling into sentimentality and redundancy, but Craig Taylor avoids both with this asorbing oral history, a collective portrait of the city’s people (and speech patterns).New York Times
Oral history is polyphonic… Often, especially when the author is doing their job well, it seems as if they’re not there at all, and that the reader is privy to the unmediated presence of the human voice. There’s a certain magic to it, and here it’s done brilliantly. The voices seem to jump from the page, as alive as the city itself.Irish Times