Man Sells Debut Novel for About $2M

By on November 16, 2013



Photo by Jordan Alport.

Garth Risk Hallberg is probably pretty excited right now. The 34 year old has sold his debut novel after a two-day bidding war that made him almost $2 million. “City on Fire” eventually was picked up by Knopf.

The highly anticipated novel is set in NYC in advance of a massive blackout the city suffered in July 1977, and Hallberg’s agent had this to add: It’s centered around a “mystery: what exactly is going on behind the locked steel doors of a derelict townhouse in the East Village, and what might it have to do with the shooting in Central Park in the novel’s opening act?”

The novel is 900 pages and took Hallberg nearly 6 years to write. Several publishers hail the novel with comparisons to Michael Chabon and Thomas Pynchon, according to a report at The New York Times.

“City on Fire” has no official publication date yet but there is already a film deal in the works. Producer Scott Rudin (Social Network, Captain Phillips), reportedly read the book overnight and immediately optioned it, explains the Hollywood Reporter.


About Darth Sarah

Sarah is a journalist and an artist who lives in the city. She loves movies and television. She reads early and often. She also secretly hopes the Doctor will come and take her away, though she realizes he probably already has a dedicated companion at the moment. Sarah also helps out over at, and our other sites!