City on Fire

City on Fire

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
13
7
1
Rate this:
The all-too-human individuals who live within this extraordinary first novel are: Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city's biggest fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Sam, two Long Island teenagers seduced by downtown's nascent punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter; his spunky, West Coast-transplant neighbor; and the detective trying to figure out what they all have to do with a shooting in Central Park. From post-Vietnam youth culture to the fiscal crisis, from a lushly appointed townhouse on Sutton Place to a derelict squat on East 3rd Street, this city on fire is at once recognizable and completely unexpected. And when the infamous blackout of July 13th, 1977 plunges it into darkness, each of these entangled lives will be changed, irrevocably
Publisher: Toronto : Bond Street Books, ©2015
ISBN: 9780385682749
Branch Call Number: HALLBER
Characteristics: 903 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

stewaroby Jun 07, 2016

After having invested about 600 pages worth of time in this book I found myself skimming through the last 300 or so. Hard to believe and not a good sign. There's a lot that's good here but it really really needed a good editor.

t
thecouve
May 04, 2016

This was way overhyped. It was not a bad read but did not meet my expectations. I look forward to his next book.

s
slang123
Apr 06, 2016

Beautiful writing. Intricate plot. Clever interweaving -- of characters, of time, of meaning.

A slowly evolving comprehension of a deep evil.

A book I wanted to both slowly savor and race to see the whole of it.

Fascinating.

athompson10 Feb 14, 2016

Solid, need editing badly. It's around page 630 of 900 before the disparate characters and stories start to meet up and the plot gain coherence. The first two-thirds of the book is a lot of interior monologues, slow action and cryptic hints and cues. The author's habit of switching the characters' narratives between present, long ago past, recent past and future can be annoying. The story could have been told more clearly and as effectively in a linear fashion. Having said all that, there is some brilliant writing, like the "interludes" with Sam's zines and the Groskoph story on fireworks (disappointingly, the author writes in the acknowledgements that much of the fireworks story is lifted from a George Plimpton piece).

t
tilejeni
Jan 24, 2016

OMGGG DID SOMEONE HELP THESE PEOPLE HOW DARE YOU JUST WRITE A BOOK ABOUT PEOPLE BEING BURNT TO DEATH!!!! DID SOMEONE CALL 911 SHAWTYS GOT ME BURNIN ON THE DANCE FLOOR

l
LibraryGoddess619
Jan 24, 2016

I liked this book, I loved the characters (which were well developed), and thought the plot was interesting. I've read in reviews that some people thought 200-300 pages could have been cut from this book but I disagree. It's long, but it gives you time to get attached to the plot and the characters.

j
jameshosking
Jan 06, 2016

This novel was incredibly disappointing given the hype and I discourage readers from starting it. It's long, maudlin, and contrived. I was envisioning something grittier and less forced. It is readable for a long plane or train ride. That's about it.

b
Barbaravee
Dec 29, 2015

May as well address the elephant in the room first: this novel is entirely too long. It has little plot, action or depth of characterization. However, the author gives us brilliant detailing, poetic similes, jolting "Ah Ha" moments, with rapid-fire delivery, enough to risk a hefty over-due fine. I had a love-hate relationship with this book as I felt the author had included every literary thought he ever had, and they would better have been saved for books 2 and 3,

p
penelopeaitken
Dec 01, 2015

5 stars--I loved every minute of the week it took me to get through. Read it with a map of NYC at hand. Intriguing how Hallberg builds his plot and connects his characters. All tantalizing questions answered--eventually, often in subtle ways. Requires close reading. Beautiful visuals. I plan to pick it up again.

s
susanchyn
Nov 07, 2015

City on Fire is a good book, even a great book. It captures many pieces of social history, especially with regard to the Punk scene.

Truly, it is a tour de force. But the truth is also that COF somehow fails to be coherent. Characters do not fully engage. Chapters are tiny and lack momentum. Trivia abounds. Plot creeps. Because the pieces never coalesce, reading becomes a slodge.

NB: Hallberg estimates that a reader needs 30-40 hours to finish this work...

View All Comments

Quotes

Add a Quote

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“But I guess what I would want to leave each of you with finally -- tender some Evidence of, against a life's worth of signs to the contrary -- comes down simply to this: You are infinite. I see you. You are not alone.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“You couldn’t trust people to be tomorrow what they had been yesterday.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“this is what happens to people when they spend their entire life inside books + never come out: real life starts to grate by comparison.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“I don't think you can really change anything unless you're willing to say yes.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“And she learned that you couldn’t stockpile anything that mattered, really. Feelings, people, songs, sex, fireworks: they existed only in time, and when it was over, so were they.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“The reason we can say anything we want in America is that we know it makes no difference.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Sometimes you weren’t yet the person you needed to be to do the work you needed to do.”

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at SL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top