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The City: A Novel (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 1. Juli 2014

3.5 von 5 Sternen 4 Kundenrezensionen

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Praise for The City
 
“Beautifully crafted and poignant . . . The City is many things: serious, lighthearted, nostalgic, courageous, scary, and mysterious. . . . [It] will have readers staying up late at night.”—New York Journal of Books
 
“[Koontz] can flat-out write. . . . The message of hope and depiction of how the choices you make can change your life ring true and will remain with you once the book has been closed.”Bookreporter

Acclaim for Dean Koontz
 
“Perhaps more than any other author, Koontz writes fiction perfectly suited to the mood of America: novels that acknowledge the reality and tenacity of evil but also the power of good . . . that entertain vastly as they uplift.”Publishers Weekly

“A rarity among bestselling writers, Koontz continues to pursue new ways of telling stories, never content with repeating himself.”—Chicago Sun-Times
 
“Tumbling, hallucinogenic prose. ‘Serious’ writers . . . might do well to examine his technique.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“[Koontz] has always had near-Dickensian powers of description, and an ability to yank us from one page to the next that few novelists can match.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Koontz is a superb plotter and wordsmith. He chronicles the hopes and fears of our time in broad strokes and fine detail, using popular fiction to explore the human condition.”—USA Today
 
“Characters and the search for meaning, exquisitely crafted, are the soul of [Koontz’s] work. . . . One of the master storytellers of this or any age.”—The Tampa Tribune
 
“A literary juggler.”The Times (London)

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

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** spoiler alert ** Don't read this review if you don't want be spoiled!

When the synopsis of "The City" was first revealed, it sounded cool to me. I didn't know why, but it made me think of "From the Corner of His Eye". It felt like some "intertwining" kind of story. At first it sounded like a rather bland title, but I liked the concept. It also sounded a bit straightforward contemporary than particularly Koontz, which might prove interesting.

After reading the book, I'm happy to say I was right on all accounts.

I can honestly say that it's almost the best book he has written in ten years. 2004's "Life Expectancy" is still my favorite, and "Relentless" ranks very high for me too. And while his high-concept novels in those days are of decent quality, they read more like TV movies than novels.

With "The City" I was reading a contemporary novel, a piece of literary fiction that while still containing a heavy element of mystery isn't as much about events as it is about characters shaping their lives. Jonah is nine years old in the story but he's 57 when he's actually telling the story and this gives the boy some maturity without making him annoyingly precocious as is often the case in older Koontz books featuring children. What I like most is how Jonah addresses others, his elders, particularly Mr Yoshioka, respectfully calling him "sir"; it brings to mind the thought that I was almost reading about a nine-year old version of Odd Thomas.

I was very much intrigued by "The City" and was also glad to see Koontz didn't overdid the ending with religious undertones the way he did with novels like "Innocence" and "Breathless". It's more subtle in this case.
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While his last two books I found outright disappointing this one is a little better, perhaps because there is so much about Jazz and its greatest names, which interested me. On the other hand the Jazz and the descriptions of paintings seemed to fill more pages than necessary.
The book is a very slow starting novel and picks up only in the last third. The title “ The City” respectively the woman it represents does not make much sense to me. The title is in my opinion misleading.
I felt it depressing that bad things to happen are being foretold. Another thing is that children of 10-12 do not talk like they do in the novel. This is something you can find in other Koontz books as well.
While Jonah should have been the protagonist, he is overtaken by Mr. Yoshioka. Without him I would have given only two stars.
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THE CITY is not the story of Miss Pearl, a genuine Lady that pretends to be the soul of the city made flesh.
THE CITY is the story of Jonah Kirk, who meets this woman several times in his youth when she is showing up at so called key moments.
THE CITY is the story of the nine year old Jonah Kirk, meeting Fiona Cassidy a murderous bitch who is preparing bombs in an apartment in the house Jonah lives – and is the story of young Jonah meeting Mister Yoshioka, a fine Japanese-
THECITY is the story of the ten year old Jonah Kirk meeting Malcolm Pomerantz - not figuring out, this would turn into a lifetime friendship.
And THE CITY is the story of nearly eleven year old Jonah Kirk, hurt by a bomb explosion caused by his own father.

Dean Koontz tries to tell us the story of the young Jonah Kirk (with seven more names between his first and last name) in an exciting way, but for me it is only a try. ^The story just drags on and no real trill shows up. For my opinion, Koontz would tell us a story in a Stephen King way, but never as good as King could do this. I was not surprised and not astonished by THE CITY. Just a book to waste time.
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With his new Novel Dean Koontz surpassed himself. His style keeps recognizeable, but is slightly altered and different from his former books. Different from books before "The City", suspense grows slowly but surely. Chapeau, Mr. Koontz !
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen 1.835 Rezensionen
115 von 120 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Kindness, courage, and soul 1. Juli 2014
Von TChris - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
All great cities have a soul. At the age of eight, Jonah Kirk meets a woman who tells him she is the soul of the city made flesh. Jonah calls her Pearl. He introduces the reader to Pearl when, at 57, he starts dictating the book we are reading. Jonah attributes the appearance of a new piano in the community center (and thus the beginning of his career in music) to Pearl, whose connection to the supernatural is immediately apparent to the reader, if not to young Jonah.

Despite the supernatural elements that you would expect in a Dean Koontz novel, The City is not the kind of story that Koontz typically tells (a fact that may disappoint Koontz fans). The City is a tale of crime and conspiracy, but I liked it less for its moderately engaging plot than for its cast of fully developed characters. Among other topics, the early chapters of The City recount Jonah's love of his mother and grandparents and his difficult relationship with his (mostly) absentee father. The occasional appearances of Jonah's father build a sense of dread, as do the dreams that sometimes trouble Jonah's sleep. One is about a dead girl named Fiona Cassidy. Another is about Lucas Drackman, who murdered his parents. Not unexpectedly, both figures make threatening appearances in Jonah's life. Perhaps the dreams are prophetic, but prophecies are easily misinterpreted. Still, this is a novel that builds characters more than it builds suspense.

Courage and heroism are among the novel's driving themes. The City reminds us that those qualities are exhibited by ordinary people every day. "And one form of heroism," Koontz writes, "is having the courage to live without bitterness when bitterness seems justified, having the strength to persevere when perseverance seems unlikely to be rewarded, having the resolution to find profound meaning in life when it seems the most meaningless." Courage is, in part, the ability to overcome adversity and fear, but it is also the ability to overcome anger and guilt -- a wise lesson the novel teaches repeatedly.

To an even larger extent, The City is about the power of friendship. When Jonah needs help understanding the evil that has entered his life, he turns to the Japanese-American tailor in his building who has become his friend. The tailor enlists the help of his own friends, who seek help from their friends, and so on, each acting solely from the desire to help a friend. Another key character is Malcolm Pomerantz, a child prodigy with the saxophone who becomes Jonah's lifelong friend at the age of ten. Malcolm is a misfit but his beautiful older sister is the personification of grace and sweetness. She is white, Jonah is black, but (like Malcolm and the tailor and Jonah's grandfather) she does not view race as a barrier to friendship.

A related theme of The City is the power of kindness. Many of Koontz' characters (from neighbors to cab drivers to victims of Japanese internment camps) are exceptionally (perhaps unbelievably) kind. It is a way of life for them to do good and unselfish deeds for others, friends and strangers alike. Kindness, Koontz seems to be saying, is the antidote to evil, even if it cannot shield us from evil acts or tragic events. And if the goodness and generosity of the characters makes them difficult to believe, I think Koontz intended them as archetypes, as models of the people we should all aspire to be.

Koontz establishes the time (mid-1960s) and place with great clarity. The focus, of course, is on historical events that increase the novel's atmosphere of dread: race riots, serial murders, bombings, and other violent episodes contribute to the reader's sense of unease. Balanced against that chaotic environment is chaos of a different sort, expressed by Jonah's love of music, from the jazz standards that his mother and grandparents extoll to the Beatles, Dylan, Motown, and the explosion of artists and musical forms that characterize the time. The City might not appeal to readers searching for a strong, plot-driven narrative, but even if The City told no story at all, it would be a joy to read for its evocation of a tumultuous and musical decade. It is made all the better by the moving moments in the story it tells and by its memorable characters.
68 von 71 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Adjusting Expectations For Koontz' Style 21. Juli 2014
Von TMStyles - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Reading the reviews on this book reminds me of the dichotomy that now exists among Koontz' loyal readers. I have come to the conclusion, as have many others, that sometime about a decade ago, perhaps around the time that his beloved golden, Trixie, died that a new Dean Koontz arrived. This Neo-Koontz relies much less on the supernatural and with far fewer of the chills and thrills that used to grab the reader in a "can't-turn-the-pages-fast-enough" choke hold. His novels have evolved heavily into faith based efforts that would be comfortable sitting on Christian literature shelves.

In "The City", a young black youth, Jonah Kirk, is soon to discover his God given talents as a musical prodigy despite the absence of his wayward feckless father. His near poverty driven life is counterbalanced by his wonderful loving mother, grandparents, and an inscrutable Japanese tailor named Mr. Yoshioka. Jonah's life seems to change when he meets a mysterious woman who claims to be "The City" itself, personified in her person. Almost simultaneously, Jonah meets and is soon terrorized by a woman who lives on the floor above his apartment; all of which leads to his discovery of a dangerous cabal of anarchists who threaten his very existence.

The rest of the book centers around his efforts along with Mr. Yoshioka, to ascertain what this evil group is up to and how to hopefully stop them. The problem is that not much really happens for huge chunks of the book (it could have been shortened by 100 pages with no loss of coherence). Koontz' skill as a wordsmith coupled with his tremendous ability to describe people, places, and emotions are still very much in evidence, perhaps too much so, as his multi-paragraph descriptions can get tedious.

But it is with his faith-based confrontations between good and evil have devolved from the thrill ride suspenseful page turners like "Watchers', " Phantoms", and "Strangers" into an era where faith, religion, commitment to goodness will always win out, usually with the aid of a helping spirit invested in a loyal dog, a precocious child, or in this case, a woman who claims to be The City. According to the Neo-Koontz, believe hard enough and live a good enough life and good people with be drawn to you and you will survive the darkness.

I have no judgment for this change of styling by a wonderful author I grew up reading voraciously. I merely attempt to explain my perception of his changed writing style in context of so many formerly loyal readers who are confused, angry, or disappointed by these changes--fans who continue buying his books expecting a rebirth of the Koontz of old. I now read his novels with modified expectations and with less of a mindless urge to purchase each new book regardless of plot lines. Koontz is still a fine author--just a different one from the one I grew up with.
57 von 63 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Extremely slow start, but leads to a gripping conclusion 8. Juli 2014
Von Aurania - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Thank you to Netgalley and Bantam for providing me with an advanced review copy of this title.

This was an odd book for me. For a couple decades, I religiously purchased and devoured every title he published. I fell off the reading wagon some time after I finished the third Odd Thomas book, so it has been a long time since I read Koontz.

The first third of this book did not feel at all Koontzian. It was terribly slow and was almost like an historical novel about music. I almost abandoned it several times. Thankfully, it picked up with when I was about to give up for good.

The story opens with the narrator, whom we learn is Jonah Kirk, having a brief conversation with his friend, Malcolm, who urges Jonah to tell the story of his life - specifically, the dark time in his life. From that point forward, the story is told in first person perspective as Jonah relates events occurring in his life from the time he was 9 to about 11. What I found a little odd is that none of the dialogue sounded like that of a child, but in retrospect it makes sense since the story is literally a late-50s Jonah verbally telling his story to someone recording it.

Jonah is a musical prodigy who comes from a family of musically inclined people. His mother is a gifted singer, and his grandfather a gifted pianist. Unfortunately, the book spends the first third giving a long-winded history of their life before "The Event." (My characterization, not Koontz's). This led to some horribly slow pacing, and while I appreciated that Koontz wanted to move away from his typical formula, it caught me off guard because I went into this thinking I was reading a Koontz book.

Unfair, right? That he should be penalized for being formulaic, but penalized when he tries to do something different? In this book he gets much more philosophical, touching on mysticism and religion, even, but never becoming preachy in the process.

In any event, we get this long background on all these bad things that happened to his mother - all her lows, from her father leaving to her inability to find suitable work as a singer - and it was just...dry. I felt like the book was about musical history, and Jonah's quest to become a professional musician. It bored me.

There wasn't a hint of anything supernatural apart from these vague moments Jonah had with a woman who claimed to be the physical (human?) embodiment of the city itself. Those moments were too few and far between during the first third, however, that they were quickly forgotten in those chapters. This woman gave Jonah hints of things to come, prophetic dreams, even, but no hint as to where the story was going.

So there I was, meandering along, debating whether or not to abandon the book that seemed to just be a coming-of-age tale about this fledgling musician when things finally picked up with the introduction of Fiona Cassidy, who becomes a central character in "The Event." That's when the book really started to hold my interest. Fiona was such a nasty woman, such a piece of work, that it kept me interested enough to learn more about her. Then I met Mr. Yoshioma, who was yet more interesting. Then various events started to fall into place and the plot really picked up, making the book feel decidedly more Koontzian.

I will not spoil, but I will just say that Jonah and his friends became entangled in plots Fiona, among others, had planned for the city (Chicago), and only then did it become clear what role the City (in its physical embodiment) played in the story (note: it was pretty minor and this is probably the least supernatural I've ever seen Koontz be).

Minor gripes with minor spoilers: I disliked that we never learned what Dreckman's "cause" was. He and all the players in his plotting believed in "The Cause," yet we never heard anything about it. I'd have liked to know about their motivations. Also, some people might not like that there's such an (unlikely) happy ending, particularly as concerns the City's role in that ending.

The writing, as always, was excellent (I would hope so after some 30-odd years of writing!). I took no issue with it at all, save for the previous mention of the dialogue involving children, which felt a little too adult (but made sense if you consider an adult is telling a story about events occurring when he's a child).

The characters themselves, I loved. Jonah's mother was absolutely wonderful - she's the epitome of the single mother who's been kicked when she's down, but gets up stronger each time and devotes every moment of her life to making the life of her child better. It's rare to see such a devoted mother in literature. Mr. Yoshioma was equally fascinating, as a Japanese man who experienced internment following WWII, and became an unlikely friend to a curious Jonah. Jonah's grandfather is such a protective alpha bear, though you'd never know it by his gentle nature. Even Malcolm had his moments.

In any event, while the story starts out horribly slow, if you like mysteries and thrillers, it's worth pushing through the slow parts to get to the actual meat of the story. The background underlying it all could have been shaved substantially to keep the pacing up throughout, but once it picks up, it stays up. This would have been a 4 star for me if not for the first third of the book.
74 von 94 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A modern fairy tale 26. Juni 2014
Von Brian Reaves - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Dean Koontz seems to have in recent years decided to redefine what makes him a writer. His stories have always been just on the edge of "out there" with classics like "Watchers", "Phantoms", and "Lightning". When "Odd Thomas" came along, Dean seemed to lean heavily on that vein of writing but still branched out with stories like "77 Shadow Street". Then "Innocence" came along last year and it looked like Dean had reinvented himself again.

In this book, Jonah Kirk meets a woman throughout his life that he names "Pearl". She is there for key moments in his life, guiding him and protecting him. Dean tells us in one of the first chapters that she will one day claim to be the city in human form, watching over her people. This is told in the first 10 pages of the book, whereas it could have been a strong hook for the story if that bit of info had been held back and we'd tried to guess who she was.

"The City" is similar to "Innocence" in many ways. Jonah Kirk (the protagonist in "The City") is no Addison Goodheart (from "Innocence") but they are similar in that both are painted as basically good men in harsh circumstances. But where "Innocence" was flawed in constant back-story flashes throughout, "The City" seems more flawed in constant foreshadowing. A chapter will end with something like "And that was the first time I saw her. The next time I saw her my life would be in danger." or something similar, as if Dean was saying "I know this is starting slow, but stick with me because there's some good stuff coming." And true enough, the book does eventually pick up.

Is it as good as "Innocence"? Not to me. But this is a Dean Koontz book and true to form it's worth reading. I wouldn't classify it as his best or even in my top 10 favorites of his, but it's definitely better than some of his recent efforts like "77 Shadow Street", (which was just plain weird even for him) or "The Darkest Evening of the Year" (one of his weakest books in years). I enjoyed it while it lasted, but unlike some of his other books I didn't immediately find myself thinking through various points in the plot where something unforgettable had happened.

If you're a Koontz fan, grab it and go. If you're just getting started with him, this is an ok place to start. Just give him another chance with other books like "Odd Thomas" and "Innocence" before giving up on him.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen I enjoy Koontz novels 4. August 2014
Von Scott Banes - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I enjoy Koontz novels, they tend to be fast paced with memorable characters in both protagonist and villain roles, and do a good job blending real-world and speculative elements that create a recognizable world that's just ~20 degrees off normal. His standard themes of universal good and evil, and the redemptive power of hope are almost always compellingly done and fit well within the story.

The City embodies all of Koontz's standard themes, and builds on what I normally see in his work by adding depth to second and third tier characters that sometimes gets lost. Additionally, while the "City" as a character is explored, as a setting it's realized only slightly more than other Koontz titles. You're aware of setting more than other works, but not to the extent that some other writers could create that you actually feel transported there.

Where I felt The City as a novel really struggled was the pacing. It seems deliberately slow, and aside from the last 15% of the novel could practically be a work of literary fiction. This isn't a problem in itself, but isn't what I go to Koontz for and frankly isn't where his gifts lie. The result feels at once both bloated and shallow; the book constantly tries to build tension that largely fails to pay off.

I don't regret reading the city, but can't really bring myself to recommend it either.
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