Mike's Reviews > The Night Inspector

The Night Inspector by Frederick Busch
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Mar 13, 09


A beautiful account of what life may have been like in immediate post-Civil War America. It is a difficult balancing act of a novel as I suspect the feeling was everywhere in the United States at this time.

William Bartholomew is one of the more ambiguous heroes I've come across in literature in a long time. Is he good or just not as bad as the people with whom he associates. His mask is representative of what the United States tried to show to the world, but underneath...a terrribly maimed country.

The presence of Herman Melville throughout the novel, as the novel's conscience, is perfect. As he represents a past that has disappeared, he also stands for the morality that has also disappeared -- an innocence. His disappearance from the literary world (this despite his greatness) also emphasizes a sort of baby-with-the-bath-water feeling that may have existed at the time. Ev erything is to be swept under the rug after the Civil War.

The images of New York are also powerful...the dirtiness, corruption and moral decay grab you throughout.

Finally, the ending...when Bartholomew is walking through the streets with his Chinese lover, and is observed by citizens who laugh at the interracial couple, represents an America to come.

After this, I'm forced to read more of Frederick Busch's work as well as Moby Dick, which I've never read...
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03/06/2009 page 53
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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy a well thought out review... thank you... it has given me the inspiration I needed in order to finish the story...


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