City on Fire

  • by Garth Risk Hallberg
  • Narrated by Alex McKenna, Bronson Pinchot, MacLeod Andrews, Paul Michael, Rebecca Lowman, Tristan Morris
  • 37 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

New York. 1977. Be there when it explodes.
It’s New Year’s Eve, 1976, and New York is a city on the edge. As midnight approaches, a blizzard sets in - and amidst the fireworks, an unmistakable sound rings out across Central Park. Gunshots. Two of them.
The search for the shooter will bring together a rich cast of New Yorkers. From the reluctant heirs to one of the city's greatest fortunes to a couple of Long Island kids drawn to the punk scene downtown. From the newly arrived and enchanted to those so sick of the city they want to burn it to the ground.
All these lives are connected to one another - and to the life that still clings to that body in the park. Whether they know it or not, they are bound up in the same story - a story where history and revolution, love and art, crime and conspiracy are all packed into a single shell, ready to explode.
Then, on July 13, 1977, the lights go out in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

not as engaging as I'd hoped

couldn't finish this, the changing format is a difficult one to tackle in audio form, but i didn't finish the hardcopy either. it just fell flat for me. and thats a lot of audio book to fall flat!
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- Maaike Pullar

A modern classic?

Garth Risk Hallberg has achieved with his first novel what any literary author strives to achieve in their lifetime. 'City On Fire' is not so much a book with a centralized plot as it is (as it is novelistically intended) an experiential process. Where the reader might search for signposts pointing the way to the book's conclusion - hoping for closure and a satisfying fulfillment of the stories they've been exposed to - Hallberg offers them something that is really quite 'else'.
The novel meanders through time and a wide array of consciousnesses, depicted them in a myriad of ways and styles, urges the reader to forget that they are creations and rather accept them as interpretations of reality.
My only qualm with the audio rendition of Hallberg's work is that it cannot capture the visceral experience of the printed process. The book is layered with inserts and layout disruptions that my it a real visual treat. I was also a little frustrated by the voice given to Sam as I felt that it didn't capture the way I'd imagined her - this is a personal criticism rather than anything grander because that section is still very well read.
Regardless, this is an epic piece of writing that deserves your time (and it will require it). Hallberg has quite possibly written a true modern classic - and I say that on the grounds that I have enjoyed this more than I did Donna Tartt's 'The Goldfinch'.
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- Phillip

Book Details

  • Release Date: 22-10-2015
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks