One of the year’s biggest novels drops today – and we mean that literally.
City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg clocks in at a cool 944 pages, but we breezed through it in no time. It’s the story of a shooting in Central Park and its effect on ’70s New York – the city’s scuzzy, punky peak.
Here’s a quick guide to the cultural wonders this glorious era produced…
New York in the ’70s could get pretty rough, and this was reflected on screen in Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese’s classic about a lunatic taking his madness on to the streets, and The Warriors, Walter Hill’s look at gang warfare.
You’ve got an embarrassment of riches here – from the Ramones to Talking Heads or Patti Smith, you can’t really go wrong. It was also the time when people like Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa were inventing hip-hop.
Look, unless you have a DeLorean and Doc Brown to hand, you’re unlikely to be burning up the guest list on the big nights at disco stronghold Studio 54 or punk headquarters CBGB – so just Google their glorious past, and watch yourself lose hours to the hundreds of amazing stories of what went on there. Ever get the feeling you were born 30 years too late?
If all this has whet your whistle, you could do a lot worse than checking out Will Hermes’ Love Goes To Buildings On Fire – a very solid history of just how this period came to be cool.
City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg is out now (£15, Jonathan Cape)