Daniel Polansky‘s A City Dreaming (review copy from Hodderscape) is a love song to New York, in all its strange beauty. It’s a braided narrative, each chapter a short story in itself. Stories of parties, conflicts, love and romance, creativity and adventure, full of warmth and intimate detail. Together they combine to make a portrait of the city, building to a powerful climax where the city’s magical citizens are required to tackle a threat to the city.
A City Dreaming follows a man known only as M. A perpetual outsider, he drifts through life, living on luck and moving through the city, briefly connecting with New Yorkers from the glitziest elite down to the poorest and those living on the fringes of society. The difference is that M’s circle includes supernatural beings at all levels. M himself has an unspecified level of magical power and it is implied that he could be one of the powerful if he only chose to exercise it. M is someone who holds the balance of the city, existing between its rival queens, neither of whom he will pledge himself to. He moves within and between worlds, weaving the whole together
A City Dreaming is a strange and slippery book. For all that it deals with an alternate, parallel New York of supernatural beings, it feels like an authentic portrait of a complex, vibrant and interconnected city.
Goodreads rating: 3*