city on fire book review


"City on Fire" by Garth Risk Hallberg is a sprawling novel set in New York City in the 1970s, during a time of social upheaval and cultural change. The novel follows a large cast of characters from different walks of life, including a wealthy family, a punk rock musician, a journalist, and a detective, whose lives intersect in unexpected ways.

Hallberg's writing is ambitious and immersive, capturing the energy and chaos of New York City in vivid detail. The novel is richly layered, with multiple plotlines and perspectives that come together to form a complex and engaging narrative. The characters are well-developed and realistic, each with their own struggles and desires that drive the story forward.

One of the strengths of "City on Fire" is its portrayal of the city itself as a character, with its own history and personality that shapes the lives of its inhabitants. Hallberg skillfully weaves together themes of love, loss, ambition, and redemption, creating a novel that is both thought-provoking and emotionally resonant.

However, some readers may find the novel's length and complexity daunting, as it can be challenging to keep track of all the characters and plotlines. Additionally, the pacing of the novel can be slow at times, as Hallberg takes his time building the world and developing the characters.

Overall, "City on Fire" is a compelling and ambitious novel that offers a rich and immersive reading experience. Fans of literary fiction and historical fiction will appreciate Hallberg's skillful storytelling and vivid portrayal of New York City in the 1970s.

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city on fire book review

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