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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Interesting realistic characters
What did you like best about this story?
It reflects the seventies
Did the narrators do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?
The narrator's voice becomes boring over a long book.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
A monumental book about a great city, at a crossroads of time and social upheaval. the story's main part of the plot develops around the 1976 july 4th bicentennial year and culminates on july 1977 with the blackout of of the five barrows. this is a time when the bronx looked like bombed city, central park was a dangerous place, the subway were one moving homage to graffiti, needle parks and sexual cruising were part of urban life , all this things were as common as racial divisions and social inequality. You could feel the electricity building, the danger lurking every time you walked the streets, it was also exciting, amazing, and you could never get enough of that pulse, that beat that this city had on those years a lifetime away now.
The novel captures all this elements and creates some brilliant characterizations that sparkle of the page and make you forget about plot. The language, the use of language is rich and beautiful, a work with reverence for words an author that loves to make them sparkle like the jewels they are and gives hundreds of pages of this particular delight.
Yes it is long, yes it could have been shorter, but it would not have the eloquence and beauty it deserves, this book is not about plot but time and place and the people that inhabit that space, it a congregation a serendipity of events that find a way to a gorgeous finale that deserves every page it takes to get there.
14 of 20 people found this review helpful
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!
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'.