A City and Its People In Our Time
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
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
Craig Taylor gets us. His sojourn in New York has resulted in a wonderful portrait of the city and its people, in good times and in bad, living, persevering, triumphant.Kevin Baker, author of The Fall of a Great American City
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
Every decade or so, a book comes along to define an epoch in New York life: Joe Gould’s Secret, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Power Broker, Random Family… Craig Taylor’s New Yorkers is one of those. It is a monumental document of our age of precarity, catastrophe, and scrolling anomie. Just as importantly, though, it is an antidote, the opposite of a lockdown: a welcoming into the apartments of our neighbours and out into the living street. For those newly arrived to the city or long in love with it, New Yorkers belongs on the short shelf of required reading.Garth Risk Hallberg, author of City on Fire
Craig Taylor has conducted Gotham’s voices into a gorgeous score. He has such a gift for getting cities to pause for their solos and close ups. With Londoners and now New Yorkers a decade later, he’s like a Carson, a Winfrey, a Letterman of the vox populi: generous with each human he sits down with, making them look good without any makeup and giving them all the best lines. I’ve never heard New York sound this good, this in tune, despite its seas of troubleLeanne Shapton, author of Swimming Studies
In the Wild
Photos of New Yorkers out in the world.