Why We Came to the City

Kristopher Jansma. Viking, $26.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-525-42660-8
Jansma's compelling paean to New York City features a group of post-college friends who manage the vagaries of love and friendship against the backdrop of living in the big city: opportunity, stress, beauty, as well as the allure of the über rich juxtaposed against the impoverished. The cast includes Irene Richmond, an artist supporting her craft by working at a hip art gallery; George Murphy, an astronomer whose life research may be imploding; his college girlfriend and soon to be wife, Sara Sherman, an editor for a paper; William Cho, working in investments, living with his mother, and harboring a crush on Irene; and Jacob Blaumann, the quintessential graduate not living up to his potential—having made his mark as a poet, but working as an orderly at a mental health facility in the suburbs and having an affair with his boss. Underneath the interactions between the characters lurks an examination of relationships and the ways friendship is tested when one in their midst is beset by a rare form of cancer. Steering clear of the maudlin, the author gives searing portrayals of both challenging cancer treatment and how true friends rise to the occasion when necessary. Jansma (The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards) pens a tightly-written, smartly conceived story that puts an insightful spin on life in the Big Apple. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/11/2016
Release date: 02/16/2016
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-698-15213-7
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-14-310964-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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