We gave it an A-
Elizabeth Gaffney’s tale of a hapless German immigrant captures the danger and excitement of post-Civil War New York City, from the depths of the sewer system to the heights of a rapidly rising Brooklyn Bridge. German immigrant Georg Geiermeier can’t keep a name (Will Williams, Frank Harris) or a job (street cleaner, sewer rat, bridge worker), and eventually gets involved with a street gang called the Whyos. It’s that last group (which actually existed, though facts are sketchy) that marks Gaffney’s greatest imaginative achievement, as she creates a criminal collective that communicates via a language of songs, sounds, and almost inaudible whispers. While most of Metropolis‘ characters are unchanging and one-dimensional, Gaffney’s complex treatment of a city on the verge of greatness more than compensates.