15.01.2016 - Garth Risk Hallberg

Garth Risk Hallberg (1978) rose to stardom overnight in October 2015 when an American publishing paid a record amount for his 900-page debut novel City on Fire.
Hallberg had published before in The New York Times, Slate, the Los Angeles Times and The Millions, and worked on City on Fire (which he thought was unpublishable) for six years.

The novel brings together a cast of characters, beginning with an attempted murder in Central Park on New Year’s Eve 1976, and concluding it with the  New York blackout of July 1977.
Peter Buwalda (1971) is an author (he wrote – amongst other things – the international bestseller Bonita Avenue and weekly columns in Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant) and also an expert on American literature. Maarten Dessing will lead this double interview with Buwalda and Hallberg.
New York City, 1976. Meet Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown’s punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor—and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year’s Eve.
The mystery, as it reverberates through families, friendships, and the corridors of power, will open up even the loneliest-seeming corners of the crowded city. And when the blackout of July 13, 1977, plunges this world into darkness, each of these lives will be changed forever.
City on Fire is a novel about love and betrayal and forgiveness, about art and truth and rock ’n’ roll: about what people need from each other in order to live, and about what makes the living worth doing in the first place.
The Dutch translation of City on Fire was published by publishing house Atlas-Contact in October 2015 as Stad in brand. In a translation by Harm Damsma and Niek Miedema.