7 New Novels About NYC You Need to Read
Time to scope out a bench in Central Park
The Great Gatsby, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Catcher in the Rye will always have a permanent spot on our bookshelves (and in our hearts, aww)--but it’s time to make space for a few new classics.
Here are seven amazing new novels set in New York City. The first meeting of the Big Apple book club has officially begun.
“A LITTLE LIFE” BY HANYA YANAGIHARA
Four graduates from a small college in Massachusetts (stay with us…) move to New York City (told ya) to follow their dreams and escape their demons. Willem and Jude’s dilapidated apartment on Lispenard Street will give you serious first-year-in-the-city flashbacks, and the haunting passages about life in NYC will inspire you to walk the length of Manhattan and reflect (wear comfortable shoes).
“WHY WE CAME TO THE CITY” BY KRISTOPHER JANSMA
You’ll fall in love from the first line: “We came to the city because we wished to live haphazardly, to reach for only the least realistic of our desires, and to see if we could not learn what our failures had to teach, and not, when we came to live, discover that we had never died.” Heavy, right? For when you want to feel all the feels, pick up this heartrending story about five friends whose lives in NYC don't turn out exactly as they expect.
“CITY ON FIRE” BY GARTH RISK HALLBERG
Immerse yourself in NYC circa 1976 in this epic crime thriller--you’ll meet two estranged heirs, two suburban punk teenagers, a magazine reporter and his neighbor, and the detective trying to figure out what they all have to do with a New Year’s Eve shooting in Central Park. If you’re a Law & Order buff, we have a feeling you’ll breeze through it.
“SAINT MAZIE” BY JAMI ATTENBERG
Finally, a book that has it all: booze, sex and beef stew. Inspired by the true story of Jazz Age party girl Mazie Gordon, Attenberg’s fourth novel details her adventures as a ticket taker at the Venice Theater by day and helping poor neighbors in need by night. This isn’t your stuffy historical novel--it’s more like a really juicy episode of VH1’s Behind the Music in book form.
“GIRL THROUGH GLASS” BY SARI WILSON
Eleven-year-old aspiring ballerina Mira is the star of this coming-of-age story set in the summer of 1977. When she’s accepted into the School of American Ballet in New York City, she throws herself into dance to escape her broken family. Poignant, dark and powerfully written, Wilson’s debut novel is a must-read. And then maybe you can hit up the actual ballet. Think of it as a field trip.
“THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU” BY A.J. RICH
Ready to spend your morning commute on the edge of your subway seat? Dive into the story of Morgan Prager, who is specializing in victim psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NYC. But when she comes home to find her fiancé mauled to death and her dogs covered in blood, she wonders if she’s suffering from one of the syndromes she learned about in school. (Fun fact: A.J. Rich is the pen name of writing duo Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment.)
“GOOD ON PAPER” BY RACHEL CANTOR
Shira Greene’s life didn’t turn out exactly as she expected. Instead of becoming an award-winning writer and translator, she’s a temp and single mom, living with her daughter and gay best friend in--you guessed it--New York City. But when a Nobel Prize-winning Italian poet asks Shira to translate his newest book, her life changes instantly. There’s only one problem: Translating it is completely impossible. The book is light, funny and totally readable in a weekend.