At its heart, Garth Risk Hallberg’s best-selling debut novel, “City on Fire,” is a detective story about a New York University student who is shot in Central Park. Hallberg, AB ’02, uses this event to connect a dozen New Yorkers and unveil a sinister plot. “City on Fire” has already been optioned for a film and has been compared to “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens, and the alumnus’ ability to evoke New York in the 1970s has been widely lauded. “A symphonic epic,” writes Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times. “A big, stunning first novel and an amazing virtual reality machine. . . . A novel of head-snapping ambition and heart-stopping power—a novel that attests to its young author’s boundless and unflagging talents.”
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