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The City: Book summary and reviews of The City by Dean Koontz

The City by Dean Koontz

The City

by Dean Koontz

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  • Published:
  • Jul 2014
    416 pages
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About this book

Book Summary

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz is at the peak of his acclaimed powers with this major new novel.

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.

More about The City on Dean Koontz' website

You can see the full discussion here. This discussion will contain spoilers!

Some of the recent comments posted about The City:

Did you at any time question the validity of a White author speaking as a Black man?
White, black, pink or purple...what does it matter if the author is a good one and writes with honesty? Never entered my mind. The book wasn't about 'race'. And when it was discussed it was so done so with dignity. - jww

Did you gain any special insights about the race riots from Jonah's perspective? How did the core values of the characters affect their approach to the riots?
As Rebeccar mentioned, I too thought that mom's lecture to Jonah while he was watching all the terrible news on TV was brilliant. I want to remember that phrase, " What do you want to be? News or nice?" Yes, and it is a helpful phrase to use with ... - tyrad

Do you agree with Amalia's view that no one has a right to tell you what you should think about a painting? Are there works that you've found particularly powerful?
I totally agree that art is personal. It's like shopping for a new home. A realtor might say that a home is great, but if the buyer likes high ceilings or a lot of natural light and the home has neither of those, then it is not great. The same for... - rebeccar

From Psycho to Sound of Music
Every life has a story. Sometimes people do not experience the Psycho times until later in life, and then for others, childhood is when there are horrible experiences. No life, however, is all smooth sailing. - rebeccar

How did Jonah’s beliefs play out thematically in the book? Did you have any of your own superstitions as a child? Are there any that you still cling to?
Jonah's superstitions were part of him and his culture. . .having we all thrown salt over our shoulder for good luck, kept the mustard seed in your jewelry box, tried the ouija board in a darken room or heard noises in the night that scared the pee ... - caroln

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Media Reviews

Reviews of Dean Koontz's work:

"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)

This information about The City was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own reviewwrite your own review


The City!!
I absolutely loved this book. Dean Koontz hit it out of the park with this one. Jonah Kirk a child growing up in "the city". He has an amazing talent on the piano. His grandfather is a huge influence on him, and encourages him to hone his skill. He meets Pearl, who shadows his life, she is the city. Through a myriad of circumstances both good and bad,will ultimately shape his life. We live Jonah's life with him as he chronicles his own life and the loved ones around him. I found this book fascinating, as it is written well, keeps you engaged and entertained.


The City
Jonas Kirk shares his history. A musical prodigy, Jonas finds music comforting, his personal saving grace. Jonas tells his life story to his long time friend Malcolm explaining events and people aiding and abetting his metamorphose into a 'whole' man, as opposed to 'half' a man as his estranged and deserter father.

I found The City mediocre. For me it lacked a spark, the characters, the narrative were flat, lifeless. I didn't 'feel' anything reading this story, rather I felt as if I read mere pretty words on paper.

The 'evil do'ers' felt contrived and misplaced. It was as if their presence was inserted to amuse and fulfill an expectation.

Other players added to the narrative, quite frankly they rescued the story. Pearl, Yoshioka and Amalia breathed life into this flat and banal novel.

Jonas possesses an admirable attitude. No matter what adversity he faces, past or present he focuses on the positive and takes life in long easy strides.

The City isn't good or bad - more average. A little slow with plenty of references of musical greats, poets, art which I enjoyed. I'm not certain of what the reader will take away with all the intricate references with the exception of an uber quick history lesson. I'm unsure if the references were too plentiful and slowed down the pace or if blame can be pointed elsewhere. I'm NOT a Koontz expert but something is off regarding The City.

My second Koontz book, he gets one more shot before I decide if he is shelf worthy. So far I find myself disappointed again, currently, his place on my shelf is looking dismal. I fail to see the greatness of his books so many I know rave about. Where is the Dean Koontz I was told I would love? I'm still waiting.....


The City
The book was easy and pleasant to read. It moved along well and the writing excellent. However, I thought the story line was light and at times not believable. To me, this is not really a coming of age at all. Just something that happened to young boy who suddenly was in his twenties(or perhaps) 57. At time, it seems, he started to think about it.

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Author Information

Dean Koontz Author Biography

Dean Ray Koontz is an American author. His novels are broadly described as suspense thrillers, but also frequently incorporate elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire. Several of his books have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List, with many of them reaching the number one position. Koontz wrote under a number of pen names earlier in his career, including "David Axton", "Leigh Nichols" and "Brian Coffey".

When he was a senior in college, Dean Koontz won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and has been writing ever since. His books are published in 38 languages and he has sold over 450 million copies to date.

Dean Koontz lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

... Full Biography
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Link to Dean Koontz's Website

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