Night and the City Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Night and the City

Kersh's best-known and most-respected novel, published in 1946, is a Dickensian "slice o' life" look at London's underworld. Harry Fabian is a fast-talking con artist and kept man (read: pimp) who claims to have been a successful songwriter in America and tries to put together funding for all-in wrestling matches. We meet his girl, Zoe, and several comely dancer/prostitutes (Vi and Helen) as well as the criminal financiers and tough guys of postwar England. Not everyone is unsympathetic -- Adam, a nightclub waiter and manager who yearns to do sculpture and gets involved with Helen, has a certain ethic and moral grandeur -- but pretty much everyone gets crushed by the milieu. This novel inspired at least two namesake movies: a 1950 Jules Dassin noir starring Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney, and a much weaker 1990 remake with Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

He's a guy who'd blackmail a man with a dying wife; sacrifice an aging wrestler in a fight for a meagre profit; sell his prostitute girlfriend, whom he lives off, to white-slavers. He's Harry Fabian, one of London town's low-life, with a humble, street-trader brother that loves him all the same.
The review of this Book prepared by Charles Smyth

Chapter Analysis of Night and the City

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   upbeat    -   humorous Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Life of a profession:    -   criminal Crime & Police story    -   Yes Story of    -   criminals stealing from other criminals    -   conman stealing/fraud    -   one man's rise in a criminal organization    -   bad criminals on the run Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   gambler    -   thief/con artist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK City?    -   Yes City:    -   London    -   dirty, grimy (like New York)    -   dangerous

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Night and the City

Gerald Kersh Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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