CITY OF GOD begins in mystery: the large brass cross behind the altar of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in lower Manhattan has disappeared ... and even more mysteriously reappeared on the roof of the Synagogue for Evolutionary Judaism on the Upper West Side. The church's maverick rector and young rabbinical couple who lead the synagogue set about attempting to learn who the vandals are who have committed this strange double act of desecration and to what purpose, but their joint clerical investigation only deepens the mystery. A writer alerted to the story by a newspaper article befriends the priest and the rabbis and find that their struggles with their respective traditions are relevant to the case. In fact, as the narrative advances and the story broadens, more and more people are implicated in what may be the elusive prophecy of a new American culture. Daringly poised at the junction of the sacred and the profane, the book opens into a multi-voiced narrative that incorporates the monumental historical events and predominating ideas of our age.
E. L. Doctorow's novels include Andrew's Brain, Homer and Langley, The March, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, Lives of the Poets, World's Fair, Billy Bathgate and The Waterworks. Among his honours are the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. He died in July 2015.