Cover of the book 'City of Light' by Lauren Belfer.

Hydropower in the US

Buffalo, New York, close to the Niagara falls, 1901.

The power station wants to expand. Activists object to the misuse of water for commercial purposes: it was given by God for the benefit of all people, not for industrial purposes and self-improvement.

A young woman is the head of a girl’s school. This is her way of keeping herself erect in a world where a woman is supposed to be either a daughter or a wife.

The small town is startled when the engineer of the power station is assassinated. Who could have done something like that? The environmental activists? Commercial competitors?

An even bigger commotion is created when the president of the US is also assassinated during his visit to the exhibition. From far and wide, people had come to see what was supposed to be the town’s high point, which turned out to be its all-time low.

'City of Light' is Lauren Belfer’s debut, in which she paints a vivid picture of the rise of modern industry, and the power and riches that it brings the lucky few. She gives us a glimpse at the social relations between women and men, blacks and whites. A splendid image of a world in transition.

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