A stunning debut. This novel starts in Argentina with a little fragment of an idea and then sweeps us up to New York and all its grittiness, modernity and flourishing art scene.
The characters are colourful and vivid and their stories are slowly woven together. James the art critic, Raul the artist and Lucy the muse, are at the heart of the plot, but it was some of the minor players who caught my attention; Marge the wife who surrenders her creativity to provide an income; Jamie, the blowsy, fur coat no knickers landlady who kick-starts Lucy's New York adventures.
Impossible to categorise, an absolute joy to read. Can't wait for more from Ms Prentiss.
City on Fire is not only a huge book in the physical sense, it is also huge in terms of courage and ideas. Not every single angle worked for me, but there was enough to make it one of the most impressive reads of the past few years.
There is no single protagonist, rather we follow the antics of a cast of characters, richly drawn from the worlds of art, music and finance, with the two most memorable being icy, repressed Regan, who contrasts sharply with her wildly creative, anarchistic brother William. Different worlds collide, cultures clash and at the heart of it all is the wonderful city of New York, shabby and broke, but still managing to cast its spell.
It is the beauty of the prose that really elevates this novel. I fell in love with so many lines; "the flaming letters fly down through his fingers to scorch the paper" and " for a second the city seems to lean forward and make contact with a future self". Part thriller, part detective novel, part literary masterpiece, this book refuses to be defined. It deserves to be huge!
'They had issues': Sally Wainwright and Tracy Chevalier discuss the Brontës
Sally Wainwright's new drama To Walk Invisible offers a radical new take on the Brontës. She talks to novelist Tracy Chevalier about the siblings' extraordinary lives.
The 10 Best Books of 2016
The year's best books, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. 1 December 2016.
Charlotte Brontë, the filthy bitch
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