Garth Risk Hallberg | Granta

Garth Risk Hallberg

GARTH RISK HALLBERG‘s first novel, City on Fire, was a New York Times and international bestseller. It was the basis for the Apple TV+ series of the same name. He is also the author of the novella A Field Guide to the North American Family. In 2017, he was named as a Granta Best of Young American Novelist. His work has been translated into seventeen languages.


The Second Coming

Garth Risk Hallberg

When 13-year-old Jolie Aspern drops her phone onto the subway tracks in 2011, her estranged dad, Ethan, seems like the furthest thing from her mind. A convicted felon and recovering addict, Ethan has always struggled to see past himself. But then a call from his ex makes him fear their daughter’s in deeper trouble than anyone realises. Believing he’s the only one who can save her, he decides to return to New York with a gift: the whole of his life, its hard-won triumphs and harrowing mistakes…

So begins the intimate epic of Jolie and Ethan: child and adult, apart and together, different yet the same. Their journey toward each other will face opposition from grandparents and siblings and friends. It will strain connections with roommates and benefactors and a probation officer desperate to help. It will push Jolie out past her depth with a mysterious admirer, and Ethan in over his head with his first love, Jolie’s mom. But as father and daughter struggle to find their footing, new vistas beckon: from a surf break in mid-’90s Delaware to group therapy during the Great Recession, from an encampment at Occupy Wall Street to a HoJo on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, from the heights of the Brooklyn Bridge to horizons seldom seen in fiction.

The Second Coming is at once an incandescent feat of storytelling and an exploration of an enduring mystery: Can we ever really outrun the past, stay true to ourselves while still chasing something new? Full of music and pathos and passion, this beautifully attuned work of fiction makes good Garth Risk Hallberg’s extraordinary promise.