The Night Inspector (Ballantine Reader's Circle) (Paperback)
An immensely powerful story, The Night Inspector follows the extraordinary life of William Bartholomew, a maimed veteran of the Civil War, as he returns from the battlefields to New York City, bent on reversing his fortunes. It is there he meets Jessie, a Creole prostitute who engages him in a venture that has its origins in the complexities and despair of the conflict he has left behind. He also befriends a deputy inspector of customs named Herman Melville who, largely forgotten as a writer, is condemned to live in the wake of his vanished literary success and in the turmoil of his fractured family. Delving into the depths of this country's heart and soul, Frederick Busch's stunning novel is a gripping portrait of a nation trying to heal from the ravages of war--and of one man's attempt to recapture a taste for life through the surging currents of his own emotions, ambitions, and shattered conscience.
About the Author
Frederick Busch's most recent book, Girls, was a New York Times Notable book for 1997. His short story collection, The Children in the Woods, was a finalist for the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award. He has received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in short fiction, the National Jewish Book Award, as well as an award for fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has held Woodrow Wilson, National Endowment for the Arts, James Merrill, and Guggenheim fellowships and has been acting director of the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. The Edgar Fairchild Professor of Literature at Colgate University, he teaches creative writing and fiction and also directs the Living Writers program. From the Hardcover edition.
"Compelling . . . A marvelously dark-hued story by a master craftsman."
--The New York Times Book Review
"A SUBLIMELY DARK WORK OF ALMOST UNBEARABLE BEAUTY. An exploration of evil, hidden identities and the dehumanizing forces of commerce, The Night Inspector has a moral heft and stylistic grace not unlike the work of [Herman Melville]."
--The Wall Street Journal
"A STYLISTIC GEM OF A BOOK, FLAWLESSLY PLOTTED AND PHILOSOPHICALLY RICH . . . Busch has followed his remarkable novel, Girls, not with a merely effective novel, but an essential one. . . . Stunning."
"THIS HAUNTING AND INTENSE NARRATIVE'S WRITING EXPLODES ON EACH PAGE WITH PRECISE FEROCITY."
--Dallas Morning News