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Extended Audio Sample Why We Came to the City Audiobook, by Kristopher Jansma Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kristopher Jansma Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2016 ISBN: 9780147524508
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“Stunning . . . A beautiful, sprawling, and generous book. Jansma is a brilliantly talented writer, but he also has a unique insight into what friends mean to one another, and what it means to be part of a city in which you never quite belong, but can’t quite bring yourself to leave. It’s a heartfelt novel, tender and painful and cathartic all at once, and even if the characters belong to New York, the story belongs to us all.” —NPR

December, 2008. A heavy snowstorm is blowing through Manhattan and the economy is on the brink of collapse, but none of that matters to a handful of guests at a posh holiday party. Five years after their college graduation, the fiercely devoted friends at the heart of this richly absorbing novel remain as inseparable as ever: editor and social butterfly Sara Sherman, her troubled astronomer boyfriend George Murphy, loudmouth poet Jacob Blaumann, classics major turned investment banker William Cho, and Irene Richmond, an enchanting artist with an inscrutable past.

Amid cheerful revelry and free-flowing champagne, the friends toast themselves and the new year ahead—a year that holds many surprises in store. They must navigate ever-shifting relationships with the city and with one another, determined to push onward in pursuit of their precarious dreams. And when a devastating blow brings their momentum to a halt, the group is forced to reexamine their aspirations and chart new paths through unexpected losses.

Kristopher Jansma’s award-winning debut novel, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, was praised for its  “wry humor” and “charmingly unreliable narrator” in The New Yorker and hailed as “F. Scott Fitzgerald meets Wes Anderson” by The Village Voice. In Why We Came to the City, Jansma offers an unforgettable exploration of friendships forged in the fires of ambition, passion, hope, and love. This glittering story of a generation coming of age is a sweeping, poignant triumph.


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Quotes & Awards

  • “Why did we come to the city, anyway? And why on earth would we ever leave? In Jansma’s able hands, these are and are not metaphors. We came because we are more ourselves as part of a collective. We came to learn our limits. We came so that we might know when to leave. This is a lively, addictive party of a book, and you’re invited.”

    Elisa Albert, author of After Birth

  • “A tremendous accomplishment: an elegant and deeply moving meditation on friendship and mortality, both fearless and finely wrought. I believe this book will stay with me for a very long time.”

    Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

  • “Like A Little Life and The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., Jansma’s Why We Came to the City shows us, with beauty and insight, what it’s like to be young and smart in this time, and in this place. It’s a major achievement.”

    Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life

  • An Entertainment Weekly Pick for 9 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in February
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About the Author

Kristopher Jansma grew up in Lincroft, New Jersey. He received his BA in the Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University. Each month he writes a column for Electric Literature’s blog, The Outlet, about literary artifacts and loving books in a digital age. His short stories have appeared in Blue Mesa Review, BOMB, and Opium Magazine. He lives in New York City and is a professor of creative writing at Manahattanville College and SUNY Purchase.

About the Narrator

Edoardo Ballerini is an actor, narrator, director, and film producer. His screen credits include the feature films Dinner Rush and Romeo Must Die, as well as the television series The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, and 24. An acclaimed narrator, he has won twelve AudioFile Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration.