MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The City by Dean Koontz

The City 
ISBN: 9780345545930

Good Reads Synopsis

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.

MrsK's Review:
I was first introduced to this author by my daughter many years ago.  She collected every signed hard cover book he ever wrote.  She promised me that there would be unexpected twists and turns, deep characters that enticed to look deeper, and in-your-face descriptions that might cause you to shiver and tremble.  She was spot on!  Koontz does not disappoint.  Although there are moments where you really don't want to turn the page... moments when you have to walk away... and those moments when you spend the entire night reading.

Prelude:
Malcolm says, "People need to hear it." 
"What people?"
Malcolm says, "Everybody. These are sad times."
"I can't change the times... So when I'm done talking about the you know-then what?"
Malcolm says, "You make it a book."

The story begins with Jonah (born in 1957) retelling about the year 1967 when his mother and him moved into his Grandpa's house, and yet it really began with him meeting a lady (known to us as Miss Pearl).  Jonah uses a tape recorded "as if its a time machine" to record the "uncanny" ways his life began twisting and turning (for 57 years) into his "future."   Jonah has a rich musical heritage and would like to be a "piano man" like his Grandpa.  So he searches about himself, about his musical roots, and about his moments "seeing" his city:
"...but I couldn't see myself in anyone I read about. 
Nevertheless, I intended to keep reading a thousand such books, if I had to, 
until I figured out how they did what they did."

This novel is not fast-paced, a new dimension for Koontz readers.  However, it is deeply layered causing you to read-ponder-digest and re-read for the soul of Jonah Kirk.  Each of the "city" lives are revealed as needed.  Each character is multidimensional which leaves it up to us to decide which soul is good or evil.  Miss Pearl is wise, very compassionate, and with a mission (Jonah).  Jonah seems to be a reflection, a reflection that flickers in our mirrors... if we are willing to look within.

" What matters is the day at hand and what we do with it, one day at a time, some butter-side-down days, some butter-side-up.  And what should we do with the day? What direction is the one to take, which choice wrong?"


Interesting, multi-faceted, thought-provoking read
About the Author:
Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day on the job, he discovered that the previous occupier of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: “I’ll support you for five years,” she said, “and if you can’t make it as a writer in that time, you’ll never make it.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband’s writing career.
Dean Koontz lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."
 Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books

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