Catalogue


Brookland /
Emily Barton.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.
description
478 p.
ISBN
0374116903 (alk. paper), 9780374116903 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.
isbn
0374116903 (alk. paper)
9780374116903 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5839622
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
Excerpted fromBrooklandby Emily Barton. Copyright 2006 by Emily Barton. Published in March 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved. IHPETONGA At the close of the workday on Thursday the twenty-fourth of January, 1822, Prue Winship sat down at the large desk in the countinghouse of Winship Daughters Gin to write a letter to her daughter, Recompense. The power train had been sprung free of the windmill for the night, and the machines of the distillery sat quiet, the embers of its great fires still smoldering. Prue could hear the low horn of the steam ferry as it approached the Brooklyn landing. Her sister, Tem, with whom she ran the distillery, had retired an hour since to the Liberty Tavern, and had said she'd be home for supper; their overseer, Isaiah Horsfield, had gone home to his family. He'd left a stack of papers on his section of the desk, and would no doubt see to them first thing in the morning. Prue's husband and fourteen-year-old son awaited her return, but she did not wish to put off writing the letter another day. In honor of Prue's fiftieth birthday, her daughter had sent a lavish gift: a magnificent paisley shawl Recompense's father-in-law had brought back from a journey to Kashmir. Prue had opened the packet the evening before, and had delighted in the shawl's softness and its jewel-like shades of blue and green. When she'd wrapped it around herself in the kitchen, her son, Matty, had clapped in admiration and proclaimed her "the very queen of the Gypsies." Tem had shaken her head. Prue might have dispatched her thanks in a quick note, had Recompense not enclosed a letter with the parcel. After wishing her mother a happy birthday, she had written the good news that she was with child. Should no ill befall her, she expected to deliver in the autumn. In light of this disclosure, and of the obvious adulthood it bestowed on its bestower, Recompense asked her mother to tell her about the bridgeworks, which she knew had caused her parents both happiness and misfortune, but about whose history she knew little. Recompense had never, until that moment, gathered herself to ask either of her parents about that chapter in their lives. The distillery had consumed most of her mother's time and energy, and Recompense had always feared importuning her with questions that might spoil her for business. As for Recompense's father, he was too good-natured and self-effacing to be much of a storyteller, and she found it difficult to cast him in her imagination as an actor in any sort of drama. Yet she wished to know the story of the bridge, if her mother had the time and inclination to entrust it to her. Prue was discomfited by the request. She had always loved her daughter, but had given most of her adult life to keeping Winship Daughters Gin solvent enough to repay the high cost of insurance and her own significant debts. The distillery was the legacy her father had bequeathed her, and she had slaved to make it profitable enough to pass on to her own son and daughter. The children themselves had been, she admitted now, of secondary importance. And after placid Recompense had declined a third time to be trained in the family business, Prue had felt herself powerfully betrayed, and had wondered, with a flash of a cold- heartedness she had not experienced in some time, if she would ever again have use for such a daughter. Jonas Sutler, the son of a man in the whaling trade at Hudson, had come soon after to ask for Recompense's hand; and as her husband had given his warm consent, Prue had sat wondering why anyone would want such an unadventurous creature and why she herself was too hard-hearted to feel any of the emotions appropriate to the occasion. Yet when the August wedding day had arrived, Prue had felt a terri
First Chapter
Excerpted fromBrooklandby Emily Barton. Copyright © 2006 by Emily Barton. Published in March 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

IHPETONGA

At the close of the workday on Thursday the twenty-fourth of January, 1822, Prue Winship sat down at the large desk in the countinghouse of Winship Daughters Gin to write a letter to her daughter, Recompense. The power train had been sprung free of the windmill for the night, and the machines of the distillery sat quiet, the embers of its great fires still smoldering. Prue could hear the low horn of the steam ferry as it approached the Brooklyn landing. Her sister, Tem, with whom she ran the distillery, had retired an hour since to the Liberty Tavern, and had said she’d be home for supper; their overseer, Isaiah Horsfield, had gone home to his family. He’d left a stack of papers on his section of the desk, and would no doubt see to them first thing in the morning.

Prue’s husband and fourteen-year-old son awaited her return, but she did not wish to put off writing the letter another day. In honor of Prue’s fiftieth birthday, her daughter had sent a lavish gift: a magnificent paisley shawl Recompense’s father-in-law had brought back from a journey to Kashmir. Prue had opened the packet the evening before, and had delighted in the shawl’s softness and its jewel-like shades of blue and green. When she’d wrapped it around herself in the kitchen, her son, Matty, had clapped in admiration and proclaimed her “the very queen of the Gypsies.” Tem had shaken her head.

Prue might have dispatched her thanks in a quick note, had Recompense not enclosed a letter with the parcel. After wishing her mother a happy birthday, she had written the good news that she was with child. Should no ill befall her, she expected to deliver in the autumn. In light of this disclosure, and of the obvious adulthood it bestowed on its bestower, Recompense asked her mother to tell her about the bridgeworks, which she knew had caused her parents both happiness and misfortune, but about whose history she knew little. Recompense had never, until that moment, gathered herself to ask either of her parents about that chapter in their lives. The distillery had consumed most of her mother’s time and energy, and Recompense had always feared importuning her with questions that might spoil her for business. As for Recompense’s father, he was too good-natured and self-effacing to be much of a storyteller, and she found it difficult to cast him in her imagination as an actor in any sort of drama. Yet she wished to know the story of the bridge, if her mother had the time and inclination to entrust it to her.

Prue was discomfited by the request. She had always loved her daughter, but had given most of her adult life to keeping Winship Daughters Gin solvent enough to repay the high cost of insurance and her own significant debts. The distillery was the legacy her father had bequeathed her, and she had slaved to make it profitable enough to pass on to her own son and daughter. The children themselves had been, she admitted now, of secondary importance. And after placid Recompense had declined a third time to be trained in the family business, Prue had felt herself powerfully betrayed, and had wondered, with a flash of a cold- heartedness she had not experienced in some time, if she would ever again have use for such a daughter. Jonas Sutler, the son of a man in the whaling trade at Hudson, had come soon after to ask for Recompense’s hand; and as her husband had given his warm consent, Prue had sat wondering why anyone would want such an unadventurous creature and why she herself was too hard-hearted to feel any of the emotions appropriate to the occasion. Yet when the August wedding day had arrived, Prue had felt a terrible, wrenching ache at the thought of her daughter leaving. She’d wished she could say she had never known such an ache before, but its pain had been so poignant because of its familiarity. It had reminded her in an instant of every loss she had ever suffered; and as Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Sutler had departed for their wedding tour of the Upper Hudson, Prue had stood on the landing of the New Ferry and wept into her husband’s coat.

Prue had struck up the correspondence to ease the intolerable pain of having a little-valued daughter vanish from sight. She herself had once passed the town of Hudson by boat, but not knowing she would ever wish to envision the particulars of its streets, she had committed nothing but its vaguest outline to memory. Now she peppered her daughter with questions, and learned the Sutlers had a tall house bounded by a fence, with a garden that continued to produce cabbage and chrysanthemums well into October. The household employed three Irish servants. Jonas had grown up in educated society, and the wives and sisters of his cousins and childhood friends were lively conversationalists, zealots for good books, the manumission of the few remaining local slaves, and politics. Yet for all this, Recompense confessed to missing Brooklyn, with its old Dutch houses scattered across the landscape despite a newly laid grid of regular streets. She was homesick; in addition to which she was spending the longest evenings of the year propped up on a sofa and trying to keep down salt biscuits and tea. Prue realized it was only natural her daughter should seek out the missing pieces of her family history. And though she herself had taken pains to conceal the story of the bridgeworks all this time—one evasion leading to the next until at last she had lost sight of the original reason for her reticence—her love for her far-off daughter, and her compunction at having ignored her before she’d moved away, made Prue believe she could change her course. It was thus that on the first full day of the sixth decade of her life, Prue Winship thanked her daughter for the beautiful shawl, expressed her delight at the prospect of a grandchild, and commenced in a roundabout way telling the story Recompense wished to hear. The correspondence would hold them both in its thrall the remainder of that winter and spring.

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2005-12-19:
A poignant tale of sisters who run a gin distillery in late 18th-century Brooklyn frames Barton's stalwart, evocative second novel, centering on early attempts at building a bridge across the East River to Manhattan. The Winship family-Matty, Roxana and their three daughters, Prue, Pearl and Tem-establish a distillery on the eastern bank of the East River in colonial days, weathering Revolutionary loyalties and brutish conditions. Practical oldest daughter Prue is trained in the working of the distillery and proves the prefeminist visionary, keeping an eye toward building a kind of springboard between Manhattan and Brookland, as the cluster of communities on that side of the river are called. Barton's richly detailed narrative assumes the form of letters Prue writes to her grown married daughter, Recompense, who is expecting her first child, and asks about the history of the failed "bridgeworks" in order to fill in troubling gaps about the family. Indeed, once Prue takes over the distillery after her father's death and marries, the building of the bridge becomes an idee fixe, to which she sacrifices the happiness of sister Pearl and the reputation of her husband. Following The Testament of Yves Gundron, Barton fashions an enchanting saga for her sophomore effort; it is a major New York book of the season. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2006-01-01:
In this magnificent epic from Barton (The Testament of Yves Gundron), Prudence Winship is a late 18th-century visionary plagued by a lifetime of early American guilt. The oldest of three daughters, Prue takes to her apprenticeship in the Brooklyn family gin distillery at age nine as if born to the profession. In due time, the youngest Winship daughter, wild, impetuous Tem (Temperance), joins Prue in the business. Middle child Pearl, as gifted as her sisters, chafes at her homebound, overly protected status, orchestrated by Prue, who believes that a childish curse she made was responsible for Pearl's muteness. Yet as much as she loves the distillery, Prue's dream is to build a bridge from her beloved "Brookland" to New York City. With a gift for understanding the architecture of such a controversial structure and with the help of her lifelong friend and lover, Ben Horsfield, Prue cultivates wide-ranging support for this unprecedented dream. Barton's second novel is a breathtaking, heartbreaking mix of gender-busting innovation and the story of decent people living enormous lives in a close family whose secrets lead to explosive tragedy. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert,LJ 11/15/05.]-Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Brookland is a marvelously beguiling novel. From first elegant page to last, Emily Barton has rendered an enticing story, one both moving and entertaining at every level. It's a dazzling and thrilling read, truly an exemplar of modern literature."Katharine Weber, author of The Little Women "Ms. Barton is a copiously talented, daring writer." Adam Begley, The New York Observer
Kirkus Reviews"Industriously researched . . . No historical novel in recent memory has amassed such an imposing wealth of rich period detail, and few novels of any genre extend an increasingly absorbing story to such a powerful, sorrowful conclusion. A brilliant book that should be a strong Pulitzer Prize contender." Library Journal"[A] magnificent epic. . .Barton's second novel is a breathtaking, heartbreaking mix of gender-busting innovation and the story of decent people living enormous lives in a close family whose secrets lead to explosive tragedy. Highly recommended." "Emily Barton is a literary inventor on the order of Thomas Pynchon or John Barth. In BROOKLAND, she has made a time machine for us to travel back to Brooklyn in the eighteenth century, where we accompany Prudence Winship on a remarkable apprenticeship and a still more extraordinary career. We'll meet everyone worth knowing, and learn everything worth learning, not only about gin, and bridge-building, but about sisters and fathers and husbands and the power of the imagination to shape the world. Barton's story is patient, tender, encyclopedic and completely absorbing." --Paul LaFarge, author of "Haussmann, or the Distinction" ""Brookland is a marvelously beguiling novel. From first elegant page to last, Emily Barton has rendered an enticing story, one both moving and entertaining at every level. It's a dazzling and thrilling read, truly an exemplar of modern literature."--Katharine Weber, author of "The Little Women "Ms. Barton is a copiously talented, daring writer." --Adam Begley, "The New York Observer
Kirkus Reviews"Industriously researched . . . No historical novel in recent memory has amassed such an imposing wealth of rich period detail, and few novels of any genre extend an increasingly absorbing story to such a powerful, sorrowful conclusion. A brilliant book that should be a strong Pulitzer Prize contender." Library Journal"ÝA¨ magnificent epic. . .Barton's second novel is a breathtaking, heartbreaking mix of gender-busting innovation and the story of decent people living enormous lives in a close family whose secrets lead to explosive tragedy. Highly recommended." "Emily Barton is a literary inventor on the order of Thomas Pynchon or John Barth. In BROOKLAND, she has made a time machine for us to travel back to Brooklyn in the eighteenth century, where we accompany Prudence Winship on a remarkable apprenticeship and a still more extraordinary career. We'll meet everyone worth knowing, and learn everything worth learning, not only about gin, and bridge-building, but about sisters and fathers and husbands and the power of the imagination to shape the world. Barton's story is patient, tender, encyclopedic and completely absorbing." --Paul LaFarge, author of "Haussmann, or the Distinction""" ""Brookland" is a marvelously beguiling novel. From first elegant page to last, Emily Barton has rendered an enticing story, one both moving and entertaining at every level. It's a dazzling and thrilling read, truly an exemplar of modern literature."--Katharine Weber, author of "The Little Women" "Ms. Barton is a copiously talented, daring writer." --Adam Begley, "The New York Observer"
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, November 2005
Publishers Weekly, December 2005
Library Journal, January 2006
Booklist, February 2006
Los Angeles Times, February 2006
San Francisco Chronicle, March 2006
New York Times Book Review, April 2006
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