by Garth Risk Hallberg
Knopf, New York, New York 2015
Borrowed from SPL.
The last time I was in New York City was during Memorial Day weekend, 1975. I had travelled there with my boyfriend, Crazy Bob (that is another story), to deliver some furniture for the company he worked for. We got stuck mid-town, and it took us three hours to get off the island. I swore I’d never go back. And I haven’t, even though I miss the museums, the library, St. Patrick’s, Central Park.
I really wanted to dislike City on Fire, what with all the hype and the $2 million dollar price tag but I could not put it down.
I can’t say I loved it, even though there were plenty of times when I believed I did. It is way too disruptive and difficult a novel for that easy out. It could have used some editing, but what parts of this massive 900+ novel could have been cut out? Every messy, multilayered bit feel absolutely necessary to the whole.
New York, a fantastically mythic city, fueled by money, art, crime, drugs and the 1970’s in America. Heartbroken humans reflected through time as if bouncing off shards of a fun house mirror. All connected like nodes in Indra’s Net, thrown into darkness and then backlit by explosions of light.