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The Metropolis Case

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  616 Ratings  ·  178 Reviews
From the smoky music halls of 1860s Paris to the tumbling skyscrapers of twenty-first-century New York, a sweeping tale of passion, music, and the human heart’s yearning for connection
Martin is a forty-year-old lawyer who, despite his success, feels disoriented and disconnected from his life in post-9/11 Manhattan. But even as he comes to terms with the missteps of his pa
Published December 28th 2010 by Broadway Books (first published December 10th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those that love opera, that love love, that thrive in emotion
Recommended to Jaidee by: a random google
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "imperfectly delicious, emotionally resonant and unapologetically melodramatic" stars!!!!

2016 Gold Award - Most favorite book of the Year !!

Please listen to this as you read my review:

I want to shout from the rooftops. I want to give all of my Goodreads friends a copy. I want to read this a hundred times. I love and adore this book. Made me cry, made me laugh, made me despair, made me hope, made me love and did it over and over and over again.

I read 20
I finished this book more than a week ago and have still not reviewed. I loved this book but found it hard to review, I'd been thinking about it and just didn't know how. I was actually putting it off until this quiet Sunday. This book would not have crossed my path if it wasn’t for Goodreads, and more specifically, my friend Jaidee. Jaidee knows a lot of stuff.

Sometimes I write notes about my books, and the title of this one in my notebook was ‘Jaidee’s Book’ as I couldn’t remember the title at
This is just an extraordinary novel. Possibly one of the best novels I've read in a very, very long time. Once in a blue moon, if you're really lucky, you'll encounter a work of art (a painting, a piece of music, a book, a film) that changes your life in some way or, at the very least, changes the way you think about life. The Metropolis Case did that for me. Matthew Gallaway's magnificent prose on life, death, love, loss, pain, loneliness, and passion is so elegant and beautiful and helped me t ...more
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reinvention of "The Makropulos Case." But Gallaway imposes his personal vision which encompasses Richard Wagner, AIDS, the Paris Commune and the 9/11 attacks. Within a compelling sexual labyrinth that weaves through Time with timeless characters, he explores love & loneliness, desire & despair, and other-worldly elixirs.

Rustling our imagination are twins separated at birth, lost parents, a scientist who concocts a potion, a 'sleeping prince' who awakens to reveal a secret. In sum, care
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is an engaging first story, a fiction written by a one-time indie rocker who is obviously obsessed with…get ready for this…Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde.

Most everyone I know is obsessed with one or two pieces of art or bits of popular culture. That passion can be for Vincent Van Gough or Britney Spears. There may be some snobby people who insist that one fixation is more merit-worthy, more desirable. But in truth, the effects of rapturous obsession is pretty universal whether it’s for comic b
Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(3.5 stars) -- he did make me cry.

Conflicting thoughts about this one. I can forgive the over-the-top deus-ex-machina contrivances, given that the book functions as a sort of literary opera. And not being an opera buff myself, I give the book credit for making me thoroughly intrigued by Tristan & Isolde. I was carried along quickly by the tone, and I was interested in the characters' lives. However, the characters inner, emotional lives are laid out in a series of heavy-handed pronouncements
Meaghan O'Connell
I read this book, swallowed it whole, really, in a couple of days. Which character was my favorite changed every few chapters, and I loved whirling through this book with them. i love gallaway--he's incisive and hilarious while at the same time underlining everything he writes with enormous compassion. He's one of the good ones, and this book reflects that. i think this book should be a MOVIE, RIGHT???

also i loved googling all of the chapter titles. it was a nice way to prolong the book when i
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I loved this! It took me some time to figure out how all 4 stories would intersect. For a while I suspected and hoped for something that finally came together in the end. (How's that for a non-spoiler?) What a fantastic and lovely debut novel.
Alexander Inglis
A somewhat daring first novel, Matthew Gallaway's The Metropolis Case stiches together four lives using Wagner's most revolutionary opera,Tristan und Isolde as its thread. Lucien Marchand is a young man growing up in Europe in the 1840s who aspires to be a singer; Anna Prus, whom we first meet in 1960, is a celebrated Wagnerian singer and later professor at Juilliard; Maria is a late 1970s teenager, growing up in Pittsburgh, whose whole life revolves around opera (making for a somewhat odd child ...more
Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title is a bit misleading. It implies that there is a mystery to be solved. There isn't one, though. Not one that the characters are working to solve. Instead, the reader is left trying to figure out just what it is that binds all of the characters and their diverse stories together. It turns out that it is a man named Leo Metropolis.

Metropolis' case is an unusual one. He appears in the other characters' lives at moments when his guidance or assistance is needed. He makes appearances in the
Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I really liked this book. I liked it at first, and then I was sorta on edge with it for a while, but I think in the end it delivered quite nicely. I'm also super excited that my generation's music is starting to make its way into great literature. I think was talking about this drunkenly the other night and the person who was on the receiving end was utterly uninterested, but, you know, I had to read so many books of "literature" that had the Beatles or the Stones or the Doors in them - nev ...more
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a brief snippet about this book in the New York Times, as well as Barnes & Noble. I was intrigued enough to keep looking for it and remembering the name of the book. I was not let down. I'd like to write that it is the story of the writing of "Tristan und Isolde" and the first production of that work - but it is so much more. There are three great story lines that are woven in such a way to make an amazing novel. When a novel drives the reader to start exploring other art works - I th ...more
Yes! I am loving these first-reads giveaways! This is the third book I've won in a week! If you're interested in reviewing new books for Goodreads, click on "find books" and then "giveaways." You can enter to win any of their "first reads" books that sound good to you. I'm really excited to read The Metropolis Case.

Although I was prepared to love this book, I decided to put it down a third of the way through. The story was just starting to capture me, but the characters were pushing me aw
Feb 04, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No real plot ever seemed to materialize. The author's insistence on breaking up sentences -- whenever he felt like it -- with hyphens, extending them into run-ons that -- having lost their point -- meandered through overwrought language and the characters' pretentious introspections, made the novel -- on the whole -- agonizing to finish. The characters were always sharing knowing winks and blinks, smiling wanly, grinning washfully, nodding slyly... The invocation of magic 2/3 of the way through ...more
Alison L.Y.
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading Matthew Gallaway's online writing via Tumblr and The Awl for quite some time, so I was a bit nervous that his fiction wouldn't live up to my expectations. Fear not, dear reader, it did - I thoroughly enjoyed it. The sentences - and characters and story - were completely absorbing; I found myself remembering various moments several days after finishing (which I rarely do). As a plus, it was fun to see the various themes I'm familiar with from his online work (opera, Washington H ...more
Oct 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful first novel. Remarkably assured and a wonderful tale of a trio of remarkable characters set around the world of opera. Matthew Gallaway is a man to watch. Tore through this book like candy and enjoyed it completely.
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great debut novel. Looking forward to Gallaway's upcoming event in SoHo.
Dec 17, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I love the cover of this book! I can't wait to get it and to read it....
Diane S ☔
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting book and concept. Characters tied together by the opera, Tristan and Isolde.
Mar 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern
This is one of the hardest reviews I have ever had to write. As a general rule, I do not write overly negative reviews, particularly not for first-time novelists. As someone who would like to be a novelist myself, I have little desire to leave public dismissals of others, nor do I think that the subjectivity of taste mandates it. Most of the time. However, I found "The Metropolis Case" to be such an appalling book, particularly given I was so excited to read it, that I would hate for others to s ...more
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy, arc
The Metropolis Case by Matthew Gallaway is the story of four intertwined lives brought together by Wagner's opera Tristan and Isolde. Their stories connect across time, with the oldest belonging to Lucien, a young man desperate to become an opera singer who falls in love with an architect in 1846 Paris. Over a century later in 1960s New York, Anna's career as an opera singer is just beginning to take off with her role as Isolde. In the 1970s, Maria follows her voice to Juillard as she attempts t ...more
Rebecca Johnson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gail Cooke
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

In a stunning, vividly imagined debut former musician Matthew Gallaway merges literature and music to take us on a journey between Parisian music halls of the1860's and contemporary New York City. A literate, scrupulously detailed author he relates his story through four people whose lives are bound together by Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. How could this be considering the disparity not only in time but personalities? The artistry of this amazing new author has made it so.

One needn’t
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Did... I find myself missing Pittsburgh as I read?: YES!  I spent my formative teen years in Pittsburgh, near the suburb featured so predominantly in this novel.  I was totally taken back!

Did... I wish I had Tristan & Isolde to listen to while I read?: YES!  Find it -- it's a treat to hear, regardless, but especially when you hear something referred to by the characters.

Review:  I have friends who are involved -- professionally -- in the opera world so I was immediately attracted to this n
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i apologize in advance, because i use these reviews as a free-write, and thus have a habit of rambling...perhaps my opinions won't be too unintelligible...

It's very difficult for me to describe my feelings both during and after reading this book...i did not dislike it, but for some reason i am just unable to call it a favorite. honestly, i found the whole thing a bit pretentious, something that anyone who knows me would understand is sort of a turn off. there's this sort of snobbery about oper
Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I was happy to receive this book as part of a first-reads giveaway.

The Metropolis Case by Matthew Gallaway is an intelligent, thought-provoking, philosophical novel. At the same time it is very emotionally moving and also accessible to readers.
One of my favorite types of novels are ones that weave together the lives of seemingly seperate characters from different time periods into one cohesive story that comes together in the end in surprising ways.
The Metropolis Case does this very well.
This n
Dec 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads

Sorry to take so long getting back to this. I let it sink in, but then procrastinated. I'd also like to disclose that this was a prize in a goodreads giveaway.

I think the universe is trying to tell me something, because a lot of the books and films I've gotten lately have had a similar theme, that there are no coincidences. To paraphrase a character from this book, we shouldn't ask how something could possibly happen, but rather how could it not.

Another thing I found especially poignant was whe

Melanie Coombes
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
The story focuses on four characters and each chapter gives us a look into their life. The book revolves around the opera of Tristan and Isolde. I am not an opera fan and worried I may not enjoy this book, but that was far from the case. As the storyline moves along, we slowly learn how these characters are connected. When I first started reading this book, it took me about 20 pages or so before I was hooked. The writing style felt a little awkward to me. But then the story took off and I didn't ...more
Robert Patrick
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Matthew Gallaway should be taking a bow in the golden glow of his much-deserved accolades for "The Metropolis Case" with roses tossed in bucketfuls landing at his feet. This engrossing tale of love, loss and redemption intertwines the lives of four unique and remarkably sympathetic humans as they make their way through life. Completely contemporary in tone and yet reminiscent in structure to the great novels of the late 19th and early 20th century, "The Metropolis Case" succeeds on many differen ...more
Writer's Relief
In his debut novel, THE METROPOLIS CASE, Matthew Gallaway alternates strands of seemingly unrelated stories involving four main characters: Lucien in 1860s Paris, Anna in 1960s New York, Maria in 1970s Pittsburgh, and Martin in post-9/11 Manhattan. Separated by time and place, their fates nevertheless coalesce seamlessly in a dramatic and stunning denouement.

Although Richard Wagner's TRISTAN AND ISOLDE figures prominently in the work, both structurally and thematically, familiarity with the oper
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Matthew Gallaway is the author of #gods (forthcoming July 2017) and The Metropolis Case, which was praised by the New York Times for being “driven by exuberance and morbidity, fatalism and erotic energy.” He lives in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City with his partner and four cats. Previously he worked as a record-store clerk while earning a law degree from NYU and was a member ...more
More about Matthew Gallaway...

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“As much as we like to think we grieve for others, she said, it bears keeping in mind that we are also grieving for ourselves and, above all, what has inevitably passed us by.” 4 likes
“I'm sorry," Leo murmured and then seemed to look through Martin for a few seconds before he returned his gaze to him. "Although if it's any comfort - and please don't take this the wrong way, because I speak from my own perspective, which I understand often places me far outside of the norm - I sometimes like to think that death, at least in the case of those we truly love, allows us to appreciate what they have done for us in ways that are not possible when we're all here, constantly changing and fixated on how to get from one day to the next. Death offers us the chance to reflect on who they were, which of course is a way to understand ourselves. As painful as it can be to see them go - and I don't mean to diminish the sense of loss or grief we all feel - there is also no greater gift.” 3 likes
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