Saturday, March 26, 2016

Distiller: Hikari Loftus
3.5/5 Stars

Why We Came to the City
by Kristopher Jansma
432 pages
Viking (February 16, 2016)

It’s kind of hard to give this book a synopsis because this was less about plot. This is a more character-based story.
Basically this is a story of four best friends (plus an add in boyfriend) who have been together since college, each struggling to find their way in New York City. But this tight knit group is rocked by a devastating blow that has all of them reevaluating their lives and goals. 

The writing in this is beautiful, but it felt a little at war with itself to me. On one hand we are following this great group of friends, trying to get to know them, the dynamics of their friendship and figure out how they will deal with the tragedy before them. 

But then there would be tangents and long passages of beautifully written thoughts or descriptions that kind of derailed the story. Because of this I found it hard to keep myself connected with the characters and the story. I felt like I was taking turns reading two different types of stories in one. 

I think Kristopher Jansma is a brilliant writer. For real. I have writers crush on him just by reading this. Some of the passages in this novel are just gorgeous bits of writing. But I wanted more plot. This is a story about a group of super close, best friends (think FRIENDS, the TV show) and yet, when tragedy struck, it did not hit me very hard in the feels. I just felt like I was watching it all unfold from far away. 

My sister and her group of best friends all moved to New York together years ago. I kept imagining them while I read this and think many of the passages would be super relatable and personal to them or really anyone living or trying to make it in New York. 

I liked the characters and their different personalities and the dynamics of their group. There were perfect moments of humor too. But overall I wish this was distilled down to something that felt a little more focused.


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