“It’s one of the very few I looked forward to getting back to when I had to put it
down. Nappa offers such a wonderful sense of scene—the death when Clara comes
in, the first meeting with Fanny, that fantastic scene with the landlady and canker worms.
The author shows a great eye for the particularizing detail.”
—NAEEM MURR, author of The Boy, The Genius of the Sea, and The Perfect Man.
“One of the main pleasures I have in these pages is the way Nappa brings the flavor
of Longfellow’s language into his own prose. The period feels vividly imagined,
from the clothes and the furnishings to the way people speak and write to each other
in letters… The world of this novel is very compelling and made me care about Longfellow
in a way I would not have expected.”
—ZACHARY LAZAR, author of Sway and I Pity the Poor Immigrant.
“I really liked it. Henry comes vibrantly to life in these pages, and the way Nappa
massages in Longfellow’s poetry and writing process is very deft.”
—RICHARD RUSSO, Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool,
Bridge of Sighs, and many others.
“Jon Nappa’s Longfellow is remarkable. The book does an amazing job of humanizing
Henry. It works brilliantly.”
—SHAYE AREHEART, founder/editor of the Shaye Areheart imprint of Crown Books
The challenge: tell a convincing tale in the voice of one of America’s most lauded wordsmiths.
Talk about setting a high bar for yourself as a writer! But Nappa is more than up to the task.
Writing with passion, compassion, wit, and erudition, Nappa delivers a compelling
story laced with poetry and real insight into Longfellow’s life and his art. Best of
all, it inspired me to re-examine the poet’s work, and with far greater depth and
appreciation than before.
—ROY SEKOFF, founding editor of The Huffington Post, and creator of HuffPost Live, its awardwinning
live streaming video network.
Nappa’s first-person prose is earthy and rich, yet highly polished. The narrative voice is so authentic that
the period-appropriate language does not distract from the book’s liveliness or humor. Dialogue is a
particular strength, as Nappa’s fine ear brings animation and individuality to every character, including
those with the smallest parts to play. Though based on the historical record of Longfellow’s life, the
emotional depth of Nappa’s work makes it feel original and enlightening. Pitch-perfect in its voice and
deeply sympathetic to its title character, the novel is an engaging and vivid portrait of Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow’s journey from childhood to immortality.
—THE BOOKLIFE PRIZE, 2017