The Second Coming: A novel (Hardcover)

The Second Coming: A novel By Garth Risk Hallberg Cover Image
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From the New York Times best-selling author of City on Fire comes an intimate epic that plunges us deep into the lives of a troubled teenage girl and her estranged father when he returns home in an attempt to save her. Navigating love, grief, betrayal, and redemption, Jolie and Ethan must find a way to survive as a family.

“Beautiful and daring.” —Nathan Hill, author of Oprah’s Book Club pick Wellness • “Breathtaking.” —Christina Baker Kline, author of #1 New York Times best seller Orphan Train

Spring, 2011. When thirteen-year-old Jolie Aspern goes down onto the subway tracks to retrieve her dropped phone—and nearly gets hit by a train—the last thing she wants is sympathy from her estranged dad, Ethan. A recovering addict and felon, now living in California, Ethan has long struggled to see beyond himself. But when news of Jolie’s accident reaches him, Ethan comes to fear she’s in more serious trouble than anyone realizes. And believing he’s the only one who can save her, he decides to return home.

So begins the journey of Jolie and Ethan, father and daughter, apart and together, different yet the same. It will stretch from Manhattan in the midst of the Great Recession to a remote beach on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where their lives really began. In time, it will push Jolie out past her depth with a mysterious stranger, and Ethan in over his head with his first love—Jolie’s mom.

Soaring, aching, full of revelation, The Second Coming is at once an incandescent feat of storytelling and an exploration of an enduring mystery: Can the people we love ever really change?

About the Author

GARTH RISK HALLBERG’s first novel, City on Fire, was a New York Times and international best seller and was selected as one of the best books of 2015 by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Vogue. 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, Granta named him one of the Best of Young American Novelists. His work has been translated into seventeen languages.

Praise For…

“A gritty epic about a teen girl in trouble and her estranged father looking for a second chance.” Boston Globe
“Dazzling . . . Heartfelt . . . The dance of life and death between these two characters, father and child, is the heart and soul of this book, a complex, moving, insanely passionate, frightening, and weirdly hopeful story of ‘I can’t quit you’ . . . Hallberg is a smart and talented writer who likes to take risks.” —Helen Schulman, Air Mail
“Hallberg’s novel takes its place in a lineage [with] Don DeLillo’s 1997 epic Underworld and Jonathan Franzen’s densely woven family dramas . . . It’s a big, attractively baroque construction.” Wall Street Journal
“Exuberantly inventive . . . The author’s spot-on wit remains playfully evident.” —Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker
“Hallberg writes from a place of keen emotional perception.” Interview Magazine

“At its core, this is a tale of the love that makes a family and how it does so.” Booklist (starred review)

“Reading Garth Risk Hallberg is a constant delightful surprise—you never know what’s coming next: a gorgeous turn of phrase, a perfect pop culture reference, a brilliant new observation, a jaw-dropping plot twist. And all of these gifts are on full display in The Second Coming, a story about a father bound up by his mistakes, a daughter bound up in her silence, and a family in need of saving. It’s a beautiful and daring novel, as inventive as it is breathtaking.” —Nathan Hill, author of Wellness

“A portrait of a daughter in crisis and a father in need of redemption, Garth Risk Hallberg’s The Second Coming is a powerful statement about the clarifying sense of purpose to be found in parental love, and how we demand more of ourselves for the sake of our children. Hallberg’s Ethan is a fascinating study in whether a certain kind of arrested American male, consumed early on by purposelessness and addiction, can in fact have a second act, even if his first is still, somehow, belatedly, being written, and not entirely by him.” —Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves

“Garth Risk Hallberg’s The Second Coming is a sprawling, aching, ultimately hopeful account of a father’s love for a daughter and a daughter’s defiance of that love when all too often it manifests as dysfunction. Hallberg deals with the dilemma of parental inheritance with a light touch, and the grace that finally descends on the Aspern clan is not only transformative but triumphant.” —Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End

“Garth Risk Hallberg’s great gift is his ability to translate epic themes into intensely intimate, cumulatively powerful novels. Full of tension and emotion and populated by vivid characters and ideas, The Second Coming builds word by word to capture the intricacies of life while revealing its own breathtaking scope. This is a world you can fully enter and explore—one that resembles our own while expanding our understanding of who we are.” —Christina Baker Kline, author of #1 New York Times best seller Orphan Train

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593536926
ISBN-10: 0593536924
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: May 28th, 2024
Pages: 608
Language: English