"The Second Coming" book jacket

The Second Coming

A novel

Spring, 2011. When 13-year-old Jolie Aspern goes down onto the subway tracks to retrieve her dropped phone — and nearly gets hit by a train — the last thing she wants is sympathy from her estranged dad, Ethan. A recovering addict and felon, now living in California, Ethan has long struggled to see beyond himself. But when news of Jolie’s accident reaches him, Ethan comes to fear she’s in more serious trouble than anyone realizes. And believing he’s the only one who can save her, he decides to return home.

So begins the journey of Jolie and Ethan, father and daughter, apart and together, different yet the same. It will stretch from Manhattan in the midst of the Great Recession to a remote beach on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where their lives really began. In time, it will push Jolie out past her depth with a mysterious stranger, and Ethan in over his head with his first love—Jolie’s mom.

Soaring, aching, full of revelation, The Second Coming by Garth Risk Hallberg (BA ’01) is at once an incandescent feat of storytelling and an exploration of an enduring mystery: Can the people we love ever really change?

About the author

Hallberg’s first novel, City on Fire, was a New York Times and international best seller and was selected as one of the best books of 2015 by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Vogue. It was the basis for the Apple TV+ series of the same name. He is also the author of the novella A Field Guide to the North American Family. In 2017, Granta named him one of the Best of Young American Novelists. His work has been translated into seventeen languages.

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