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3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  70 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
From award-winning author Alexander C. Irvine comes a compelling, fantastical riff on history and World War II. The Narrows takes place in Detroit, where Henry Ford's factories have been retooled forAmerica's grand war effort. But there are also more clandestine operations under way-including a top-secret effort to produce golems-powerful beings fashioned from the earth-to ...more
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Published September 27th 2005 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 2005)
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Toby Elliott
Didn't love this. I felt, many times throughout the story, like yawning and putting the book down. There were just so many other books clamoring for my attention, and I just couldn't be bothered by the slow-drag of this one. Although I kept returning to it, doggedly, like a factory worker back to his job, day after day. Perhaps it was Mr. Irvine's loving depiction of a daughter completely glued to her father, perhaps it was the foggy, heated exhaustion of a wartime city pumping out materia for t ...more
Jan 14, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not to be confused with another book of the same name (book titles can't be copyrighted, so there are many duplicates out there), The Narrows by Alexander C. Irvine is an original historic thriller that I started reading out of boredome at a friend's house and ended up getting hooked by the fascinatng story line of a WWII factory in Detroit secretly producing golems. But the thing that's interesting is that the main character who tells the story, factory worker Jared, doesn't seem to think it's ...more
Janet K. Cook
Strange and just ok

A sort of combination of historical and science fiction that tries to do too much and doesn't succeed. Had to force myself to finish in the hopes it might have a decent ending, but shouldn't have bothered.
Jul 31, 2010 Ryun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jared Cleaves has problems. Excluded from the army by a couple of bum fingers, Jared contributes to WWII-era Detroit’s war effort by building golems in a secret Ford factory, removing scrap metal from lumps of clay that are then brought to life by a no-nonsense rabbi. Not only that, but his wife makes more money than he does, his mother-in-law hates him, and he’s haunted by dreams of a red-skinned dwarf instigating Detroit’s fall.

Such is the world of THE NARROWS by Alexander C. Irvine. It is a w
Jan 16, 2009 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Books such as this are why I've decided I need to keep a list of everything that I read. I found this one by browsing the "new books" shelves of my local library; I had never heard of the author or book beforehand. When I tried to recall the title or author to add to my list, though, I couldn't. Was it "The Straits", "Detroit", "Nain Rouge"? It took some lucky googling to find it.

The book is a great, odd gem. It has it all: WWII-era Detroit, spies, golems, and of course the harbinger of Detroit,
Jun 11, 2014 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's almost something here, in Alex Irvine's alternate history where Ford Motors is churning out golems in a secret project to win WW2 while the federal government tries to track down creatures from folklore, but it just doesn't seem to deliver. Everything comes together at the end, in a way, but this sort of feels like one of the golems themselves - there's certainly movement, but there doesn't seem to be that spark of life. It kind of feels like Irvine came up with a hell of a first chapter ...more
Dec 20, 2007 Owen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alternate history fans with a lot of patience
I guess my expectations were too high after thoroughly enjoying Scattering of Jades, but The Narrows just didn't do much for me. The whole idea of the U.S. Army setting up a golem assembly line in Detroit during WWII sounded promising, but it seemed like the story took forever to get anywhere, and the final revelation about what was REALLY going on at Willow Run wasn't worth the wait.
Kind of a weird book with its Judaic magic, Henry Ford intrigue and WWII espionage theme, but a vivid step back into 1940's Detroit. The D has a rich, multicultural history with all kinds of interesting locales, and this book captures it all. I enjoyed it, but am not sure that many non-Detroiters will. Highly recommended for the 313 crowd.
Christopher McKitterick
This one opens just before the US gets involved in WWII, and our main character works on the "Frankenline" in Detroit's Rouge River Ford plant making golems to fight for the Allies. I really enjoyed it. If one squints hard, one could read this as alternate history.
Feb 12, 2009 krin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
This was a very interesting urban fantasy which mixed the fantastical with the historical time period. I liked how Jared tried to do the right thing even when things were difficult at home and at work.
Apr 06, 2009 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was ok. What with all the really cool subject matter, it could have been waaaaay better.
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Alexander C. Irvine is an American fantasist and science fiction writer. Many of his works have appeared under the simple moniker "Alex Irvine." He first gained attention with his novel A Scattering of Jades and the stories that would form the collection Unintended Consequences. He has also published the Grail quest novel One King, One Soldier, and the World War II-era historical fantasy The Narro ...more
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