Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Trailer Park Tuesday: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.

If you read one book in October, make it City on Fire—and with its 944-page length, Garth Risk Hallberg’s debut novel may very well be the only book you read this month. It wouldn’t be time wasted. I’m halfway through it now and I’m here to tell you this book is a luxurious bath of words. City on Fire is big in all senses of the word: not just in page volume, but in the scope of its plot and the large cast of characters—every one of them interesting to some degree. When you start reading this novel, you are in its world...and there you stay until your eyes lift from the page. It is a full-immersion baptism of story. City on Fire reminds me, at times, of Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities (but de-fanged of that book's satire) and Don DeLillo’s Underworld (though Hallberg confines himself to just one place and time: New York City in the mid-1970s). With the seamless dazzle of a Las Vegas magician, Hallberg juggles so many different plot threads—all of which will eventually tie together—that it feels like several books smooshed into one. Not only is City on Fire one of the best books of 2015, it has a rich, eye-bursting trailer featuring a couple of poetic passages from the Prologue, narrated by the author, and a collage of images that move so fast they can only leave a subliminal impression in your brain. Driving the video forward is a terrific new song called “My Reward,” written and performed by Hallberg’s friend Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen, along with bandmate Paul Maroon. Music, from punk to pop, plays an important role in the novel, so it’s only fitting that the trailer adds a nice sonic layer to the two-minute video. If you see only one book trailer in October, make it this one.

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