The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.
Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.
The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.
A touching and heart breaking story, beautifully told in the narrative voice of Jonah Kirk. Koontz’s The City had me both captivated and on the brink of tears with a plot that was intricately woven and suspenseful throughout.
The book begins by informing the reader that it is Jonah who is retelling a story from his past. We learn that Jonah is from a remarkable family on one side and has a selfish father on the other. Jonah’s mother is a talented singer who falls hard on luck with work and has to subsidise her wage by working at Woolworths. Jonah adores his mother and it’s easy to see why, hardworking and supportive of Jonah throughout. Jonah’s Grandfather is also musically talented and plays the piano having the “best left hand in the business”. It’s because of this that Jonah wants to play the piano yet his father has his objections. This part of the book is where Koontz adds a little of the supernatural and Jonah is visited by a woman who takes on the name Mrs Pearl, she describes herself as the city made human so that she can walk amongst her inhabitants. She takes a liking and interest in Jonah and gifts him visions of the future through vivid and frightening dreams full of violence and suffering. The meaning of the visions is a mystery until the devastating and thrilling final stages of the book.
This is a book which left me guessing throughout, numerous times I thought to myself “what am I reading?” However this did not deter me from continuing, Koontz’s writing and the mystery within the stories plot kept me hooked. The introduction of some intriguing characters that appear in Jonah’s visions and the promise of a major life changing event for Jonah and company meant I had to find out how it would conclude. There are characters in this story that are easy to like and care about, the people Jonah surrounds himself with are all great especially Mr Yoshida who quickly became a favourite character. Mr Yoshida is one resourceful and caring man, he and Jonah start to have suspicions of a new inhabitant at the apartment block where they live and someone who has appeared in Jonah’s nightmare vision. Jonah and Mr Yoshida, who calls upon his contacts from his days in Manawa, try to unravel the mystery and intentions of this potentially dangerous individual.
The first 50% of this book, although brilliantly written was slow and this might put some people off. However, had I taken this quitters approach I wouldn’t have experienced a catastrophic event through Jonas eyes and I wouldn’t have been so touched by a heartbreakingly shocking ending that had this bloke on the brink of tears. I also know now that the small snippets of information and events throughout the three year recollection of Jonah make the ending all the more shocking. The book culminates with feats of courage and terror and the conclusion is surprising and brilliant, a highly recommended read.