Title: The Metropolis Case
Author: Matthew Gallaway
Publication Date: December 28, 2010
Hardcover: 384 pages
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 past, he questions whether his life will feel more genuine going forward.
Decades earlier, in the New York of the 1960s, Anna is destined to be a grande dame of the international stage. As she steps into the spotlight, however, she realizes that the harsh glare of fame may be more than she bargained for.
Maria is a tall, awkward, ostracized teenager desperate to break free from the doldrums of 1970s Pittsburgh. When the operatic power of her extraordinary voice leads Maria to Juilliard, New York seems to hold possibilities that are both exhilarating and uncertain.
Lucien is a young Parisian at the birth of the modern era, racing through the streets of Europe in an exuberant bid to become a singer for the ages. When tragedy leads him to a magical discovery, Lucien embarks on a journey that will help him—and Martin, Maria, and Anna—learn that it’s not how many breaths you take, it’s what you do with those you’re given.
This unlikely quartet is bound together across centuries and continents by the strange and spectacular history of Richard Wagner’s masterpiece opera Tristan and Isolde. Grandly operatic in scale, their story is one of music and magic, love and death, betrayal and fate. Matthew Gallaway’s riveting debut will have readers spellbound from the opening page to its breathtaking conclusion.
Love and death, past and present, passions and desires, are themes in Matthew Galloway’s debut novel, The Metropolis Case. Gallaway’s debut is a rather ambitious undertaking, spanning roughly a century and a half with the central focus on opera, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde to be more precise, yet before I lose anyone, one need not have any operatic knowledge to enjoy this book. The Metropolis Case is told, much as an opera, in three acts and while the central theme is of love and death (much as opera themes are) it goes much deeper than Wagner ever intended. The reader is introduced to Martin Vallence in the 21st century; Anna Prus getting her first break as Isolde at the Met in 1960, Maria Sheehan in Pittsburgh three days after her birth and adoption, and back in time to 1846 Paris where the reader meets nine-year-old Lucien Marchand. All four central characters have their own stories which eventually do become interwoven into a masterful conclusion with a bit of surprise at the end, unless one picks up on the foreshadowing in the book or in the actual title. The Metropolis Case is a rather deep, and at times, disturbing book, yet one of beauty, fluidity of movement, and exquisite prose, all quite promising for Gallaway’s future in literature. Galloway seamlessly moves through time, with elaborately detailed descriptions and realistic characters, both major and minor, and a well-choreographed set of plots, which come together as one single movement keeping the reader actively engaged. I look forward to reading future books by Matthew Gallaway, as I believe he could go quite far. I would recommend The Metropolis Case to anyone who enjoys literary fiction.
Matthew Gallaway is a first-time novelist originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He now lives in New York City.
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I received a complimentary ARC of The Metropolis Case by Matthew Gallaway from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.