Tuesday, October 13, 2015

City on Fire - Book Review

On New Year's Eve 1976, six already-intertwined lives become even moreso after an attempted murder during a snowstorm. Who are these people (Keith, Regan, William, Mercer, Samantha, and Charlie)? And can they fix their broken lives as 1977 starts?

From New Year's Even 1976 to the New York City blackout in the summer of 1977, author Garth Risk Hallberg takes readers on a (very long) rollercoaster ride through what is a love story, a crime story, a murder mystery, a story about immoral business practices, a story about the punks of the '70s, a story about gay people in the '70s, a story about drugs and sex in the '70s.

And to find out just what brought each character to this point in his or her lives, the author takes us through many flashbacks and throws in a few non-traditional storytelling devices, such as letters, magazine articles, emails, etc.

If City on Fire's 927 pages don't scare you off, then you'll find this a pretty epic story. Perhaps some of it could have been edited down, but once you read it, you really can't see any part of it being cut. All of the description, all of the other characters who end up popping into the story are all necessary parts of the story as a whole. It really gives you a sense of what New York was like back then, the difference between the Upper West/East Side and the lower part of Manhattan, the turmoil brewing among the lower classes and the minorities. So, yes, this is a LONG book and one that you'll probably want on your e-reader instead of trying to lug it around in a purse, but take the time to read the book and become part of the story.

City on Fire is published by Alfred A. Knopf and is on bookstore shelves today. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

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