It's difficult for me to resist literary hype, and so Garth Risk Hallberg's City on Fire has finally made it into my home. I have a hard time seeing book hype as a bad thing and think that its potential to stir up critical controversy or acclaim is wonderfully representative of our voracious literary public. The divisive Karl Ove Knausgaard made way for Elena Ferrante, and when that wave of excitement crashed last fall with Ferrante's fourth book, it seemed to usher in what may be the most anticipated book of 2015, City on Fire. While Hallberg's reputation precedes him, from his seven-figure book deal to his nearly four-figure page count, City on Fire is sure to captivate, divide, immerse and upset scads of readers. We'll all talk about it. It's going to be great.
My copy arrived this weekend from Powell's "Indiespensable" subscription. This is my third Indiespensable book, following a beautiful cloth-bound copy of Richard Powers' wonderful novel Orfeo and the Booker Prize-longlisted Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg. The subscription costs $40 a shipment, and features a signed first edition that has some sort of Powell's-exclusive element.
While I'm very excited to read City on Fire, this is a far cry from the special feel that the Indiespensable Orfeo had. Orfeo had a Powell's limitation page bound in and was bound in full cloth, City on Fire just feels like signed overstock from a recent event with Hallberg. While I don't mind supporting Powell's, and do think the fireworks-slipcase is very nice, I would love to see something a little more unique in future installments.
Still, Powell's will keep me subscribed if they keep having such a great lineup. I'm very curious to see what their next pick will be!
The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya