Banished Children of Eve
A Novel of Civil War New York.
Publisher: The Overlook Press
First publication date: March 1, 1995 (Penguin)
Cover: Hardback and Paperback
Purchase Online: Overlook Press, Amazon
The Civil War has just entered its third bloody year and the North is about to impose its first military draft, a decision that will spark the most devastating and destructive urban riot in American history. Banished Children of Eve traces that event as its tentacles grip New York City. The cast is drawn from every strata: a likeable and laconic Irish-American hustler, an ambitious and larcenous Yankee stockbroker, an immigrant serving girl, a beautiful and mysterious mulatto actress and her white minstrel lover as well as a cluster of real-life characters, including scheming, ever-pompous General George McClellan, fiery, fierce Archbishop "Dagger John" Hughes and fast-declining musical genius Stephen Foster. The fates of these characters coalesce in the cataclysm of the Draft Riots, as a pivotal period in the history of New York and the nation is painfully, vividly, magically bought to life.
"Historical fiction as well made and whole as this is not common….Convincing and intriguing… Hardly a page of this book is without some revelation."
- The New York Times Book Review
"Peter Quinn’s extraordinarily fine and ingenious novel, Banished Children of Eve, shows how much we are made of history… Unflinching in its depiction of prejudice and, for that matter, of grace, Quinn deftly weaves the lives of his characters into an intricate web of past and present, of association and moral involvement, until I, at least, had a sense not only of this terrible time but of history itself at the fundamental level, of the individual actions that make up its fabric."
- The Boston Sunday Globe
"One of the very, very best of modern historical novels."
- Thomas Flanagan
"Vividly imagined, scrupulously researched, and almost disorienting in its authenticity… A historical classic… Nothing short of splendid."
- The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Exceptional…The author’s pungent style, refusal to romanticize, and affinity for historical details all blend to make Banished Children of Eve an achingly vibrant panorama of ethnic feuds and struggles."
- Los Angeles Times
"A stunning portrayal of New York in 1863… Would that all history be told as well."
- Chicago Sun-Times
"…one of the year’s most impressive books."
- The Milwaukee Journal
"In the tradition of great historical novels, Banished Children of Eve attempts to excavate the past using a fiction writer’s pick and spade, uncovering truths both historians and journalists have left behind."
- The New York Observer
"A new and formidable talent… Flawed and broken though they are, these ‘banished children’ are irresistible. Peter Quinn’s achievement is to have brought them alive in a historic moment and to have given us a historical novel of stature and breadth."
"A new voice in the annals of Irish literacy. It is dark and brilliant, fateful and forceful, unsparing in its evocations of brutality and tender in bearing witness to the travails of the innocent. In style it forges into the new space created by the belief. There are no overarching explanations, no overarching narratives. The reader is left to create out of vivid rags and snatches the world of a vanished period and the cry of a banished race."
- The Irish Literary Supplement