THE SECOND COMING - Garth Risk Hallberg in conversation with Gary Sernovitz

Please join us for a special evening with Garth Risk Hallberg, bestselling author of CITY OF FIRE, featuring his luminous new novel, THE SECOND COMING, which  plunges deep into the lives of a teenage girl and her father as they navigate love, grief, addiction, resurrection, and the restless of of other people. He will appear in conversation with Gary Sernovitz, author of THE COUNTING HOUSE.

As Nathan Hill says, “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.”

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 realizes. 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—full of blues—this beautifully attuned work of fiction renews the extraordinary promise of this writer's “boundless and unflagging talents” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times).

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.

GARY SERNOVITZ recently launched his his novel, THE COUNTING HOUSE at Octavia Books, He has spent the last quarter-century working in and observing how money works, from Goldman Sachs to nearly twenty years at a private equity firm where he is now a managing director. He has also brought his keen writer's eye to America and business through two previous published novels, a non-fiction book, and numerous essays and reviews in The New York Times, The New Yorker online, n+1, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. A native of Milwaukee and longtime resident of New York, Gary now lives in New Orleans with his wife and daughter.


Event date: 

Friday, June 14, 2024 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Event address: 

Octavia Books - 513 Octavia Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
The Second Coming: A novel By Garth Risk Hallberg Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593536926
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - May 28th, 2024

From the New York Times best-selling author of City on Fire, an intimate epic that plunges us deep into the lives of a teenage girl and her father as they navigate love, grief, betrayal, and redemption

“Beautiful and daring.” —Nathan Hill, author of Oprah’s Book Club pick Wellness

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