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The Metropolis Case: A Novel Paperback – November 8, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307463435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307463432
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his ambitious debut, Gallaway jumps backward and forward in time between two cities, spiraling in on four characters connected by music: Lucien, an opera singer coming-of-age in mid-19th-century Paris; Anna, an opera singer reaching the height of her career in 1960s New York; Maria, an extraordinarily promising young singer but a difficult student; and Martin, an aging lawyer whose love of music might save his life. The ties between them are at first so tenuous that readers may wonder when, how, or if their narratives will converge. But Wagner's Tristan and Isolde touches each in some way, as does, eventually, eternal life, a device that allows Gallaway to chronicle 1860s Paris and 1960s New York through the eyes of one character. Gallaway, a former musician, gives music a literary presence, intertwining opera and punk by illuminating their shared passion and chaos. But ambition sometimes gives way to pretension (particularly with chapter titles such as "Fashion Is a Canon for this Dialect Also") and purple prose, but the story remains grounded by characters grappling with love, in some cases for eternity. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Author Matthew Gallaway has taken a great risk with his first novel by creating an intricate, multilayered tale that slides from past to present, from Europe to New York, from opera to pop. But despite the complexity, The Metropolis Case engages the reader emotionally on every page."--The Washington Post

“It’s to the credit of Matthew Gallaway’s enchanting, often funny first novel that it doesn’t require a corresponding degree of obsession from readers, but may leave them similarly transported: the book is so well written — there’s hardly a lazy sentence here — and filled with such memorable lead and supporting players that it quickly absorbs you into its worlds.”—The New York Times

"An absorbing and intricately plotted first novel. Gallaway excels at the long form, producing a dense, well-structured puzzle. Like the opera that ultimately binds his characters together, CASE lingers beyond the final note."--Out Magazine (Critic's Pick)

"Matthew Gallaway's epic debut novel, intimately intertwined with Wagner's "Tristan and isolde," is itself an operatic masterpiece. Gallaway's wonderful prose leaves you hungry for more."--AM New York

"Gallaway is a perceptive and graceful author in his own right whose moving story will appeal to Wagnerian experts and neophytes alike."--Los Angeles Times

“Gallaway’s novel, is not just an intricate, complex, and multilayered novel, but also a rewarding read, that leaves the audience looking forward to Gallaway’s next work.”The Manhattan Times
 
“Mr. Gallaway writes epically, with multiple points of view, multiple stories. Historical and profound, he handles everything beautifully. He is a rich storyteller, and an evocative writer; the complexity of his characters, the rich scenes and the lyrical prose all make it hard to believe that this is his first novel.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 “
A cerebral novel.”Historical Novels Review

Matthew Gallaway’s The Metropolis Case is an ambitious, heady, intelligent and engaging first novel about the healing powers of art…it solidifies into a page turner, and better still, delivers on a wide range of concerns that go far beyond the musical interests that center the book’s narrative.”Lambda Literary Review

“As ambitious a debut as they come, this sweeping first novel travels across not
only continents but centuries as well.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Even for a reader unacquainted with opera, The Metropolis Case enthralls.
Theatrical history, training at Julliard, opening night at the Metropolitan—this is an engaging and unusual subject matter. The Metropolis Case is an intriguing debut from a fresh, unique voice.”—Bookpage

"Gallaway, a former musician, gives music a literary presence, intertwining opera and punk by illuminating their shared passion and chaos."--Publishers Weekly

"A pleasingly intricate puzzle."--Kirkus Reviews

"Matthew Gallaway's fascinating and erudite debut novel is a portrait of the passion of several singers across the ages for a single opera, and turns into its own kind of novelistic chorus. Like Tristan und Isolde, the opera at its center, it is complete with wrong love, sacrifice and even a potion. An original new talent has arrived."-- 
Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night

"I know next to nothing about opera and I loved this book. Let me go further: I actually (don't tell anyone) find opera a bit dull, but now consider me a big buff -- if no other reason than it gave us this powerful, beautiful, wondrous novel."--Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half a Life

"Matthew Gallaway possesses a massive vision and a wizard-like ability to weave story lines. The Metropolis Case is an ambitious and beautiful book sure to find a devoted following."--Shane Jones, author of Light Boxes

"The Metropolis Case is a terrifically engaging and elegantly panoramic novel that is sure to appeal to fans of majestic fiction such as Kostova's The Historian."--Katharine Weber, author of True Confections and Triangle


From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

MATTHEW GALLAWAY got his B.A. from Cornell University, where he majored in government, and after working for several environmental groups in Washington DC attended law school at New York University. (He is fairly certain that he is the only graduate of NYU Law to work as a record-store clerk.) After passing the bar, he played in a rock band (Saturnine) for several years before turning his attention to The Metropolis Case. He currently lives in Washington Heights with his partner Stephen and three cats, Dante, Zephyr and Elektra.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 54 customer reviews
I can't wait to read the author's next book.
Jonathan F.
The use of music as a metaphor is wonderful and the thoughts on aging, tragedy, love, art and fate are unique and memorable.
R. Stephens
These characters stories weave together throughout the book.
bookreader "Melanie"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By PushkinLover on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Metropolis Case is an expert and frequently enchanting novel by first-time novelist Matthew Gallaway. It tells a story of epic sweep that bridges both the Old and New Worlds, three centuries, and the destinies of four characters who, besides having a profound engagement, whether as performer or aficionado, with Richard Wagner's epochal opera Tristan und Isolde, are also united by an unusual - and highly original - collusion of chance, fate, or luck. Thus it is in its own way a wily and suspenseful mystery, but one to which the actual solution is far less important than the path there. The attentive reader may be able to twist together the carefully laid strands before the official "reveal" (opera buffs will be clued in to some degree by the marvelously allusive title) but such is the author's masterful control of his art that every moment of revelation is handled with considerable and artful restraint, going further than the mere ticking off of a plot point, and leading the reader to consider ever more deeply the principal characters and their intertwining roles in the vast fabric of time and history and art.

Mr. Gallaway clearly has a special affinity for cities, likewise alluded to in the title of the novel. The novel's main locales - Paris, Vienna, Munich, suburban Pittsburgh, and most of all New York City (the novel is in part a valentine to that astounding metropolis) - are described in an alluring lack of over-specific detail all the better to enable their very different energies, moods, auras - the very taste of them - to filter through to the reader unhampered by any sense of being among tourist sites already well-digested by the culture. Instead: you are there.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Randy L. Thomas on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I LOVED this book. I thought it started a bit slow and sometimes the language is unnecessarily academic...and it bugs me that the author uses "i.e." so much (it's not a thesis, after all) but these are minor irritations in the overall context of a great read. Wonderful characterizations; and the eventual weaving together of the separate stories is masterful and never forced. I appreciate how 9/11 played a part in the story without overwhelming the main themes. The importance of Tristan and Isolde does not require an intimate knowledge of opera in general or that opera in particular but adds a richness and important focus that cleaves the characters together. Once I got into the first few chapters of this book I found it hard to put down. I'm looking forward to Mr. Gallaway's next novel!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dancing on the Sand on January 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Recently, my husband and I treated ourselves to a weekend of reading. After an enthusiastic review by the New York Times, we chose The Metropolis Case by Matthew Gallaway. What a joy! We found the book to be so compelling that we couldn't put it down. Matthew Gallaway depicted not only passionate outbursts of sexuality, but also carefully nuanced, emotional moments. I loved the romance of the book and have selected it for my book club. Overall, the book was luminous, haunting, provocative, numinous, and stirring. I give my kudos to the author and encourage everyone to read this fascinating book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Jacobs on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The product description describes this book as "ambitious", and I could not agree more. The Metropolis Case has many elements to it, and first among these is Wagner's opera Tristan and Isolde. However, it also includes some science (fiction), an examination of friendship and love, many historical elements, and a glimpse at challenges faced by gay men; with a dash of 9/11 and a pinch of family dynamics thrown in for flavor. The writing is absolutely lyrical; this author is clearly extremely talented and very, very smart. However, the book falls short because, in my opinion, the author never really decided what he really wanted it to be.

The book follows three main characters: Lucien, an opera singer from the mid-1800s; Maria, a modern-day opera singer; and Martin, a fortyish lawyer who lives in the Big Apple. If you are not an opera fan, do not despair. While this book is written with the opera Tristan and Isolde as the mechanism to tie all the characters together, this is not a story about opera specifically. In fact, there are many dilettante-ish ventures into subject matter that are not exactly cohesive, which ultimately leaves the story unfocused. I have to say also that while some promotional matter indicated that this book was a mystery, if there was one, it was pretty obvious.

I was never really clear on why some of the major elements of this story needed to be in here. I would much rather have seen a closer examination of Lucien, Martin and Maria's lives and to get to know them better than I could with so much going on in the background. Again, the writer is phenomenal and I think in the future it is entirely possible he will produce a modern classic. Some of the insights in this book were actually breathtaking. However, it just missed the mark with so much going on and, at the same time, not much happening.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Russell Savage on February 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
While I do not know much about opera, the strong characters and their struggle with art and the importance it plays in their life I could relate to. It did pique my interest though, I really need to check out what this Wagner character is all about.

It was my first try at reading a book on my iPhone. I have to warn you, save the absorbing parts for early in your commute, otherwise you may miss your stop as I nearly did!
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