Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Emerald City” as Want to Read:
Emerald City
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Emerald City

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  29 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Set in Seattle, Emerald City follows Benison Behrenreich, the hearing son of deaf royalty. His father, CEO of a multimillion-dollar deaf access agency, has bribed Myriadal College officials for Benison's spot on their powerhouse basketball team, where he struggles to prove himself and compensate for his father's sins.

Julia Paolantonio has recently lost her father to a drug
Paperback, 1st Edition, 418 pages
Published September 15th 2019 by Animal Riot Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Emerald City, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Emerald City

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  29 ratings  ·  18 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Emerald City
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that shocks you back into existence. Birnbaum's talents extend into nearly every "category" of writing... plot and character and language and structure and etc. But that's merely a technical observation and says nothing about how urgent each page feels, and how difficult it is to put this thing down. Benison Behrenreich, one of the book's main players (and literally a college basketball player) is one of my new favorite literary characters. He seems to embody a variety ...more
M.K. Rainey
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this tome for the sixth time and it just keeps getting better and better. No one writes with the muscle and cerebral force like Birnbaum. Any fans of DFW, Sergio De La Pava, Gabe Habash or Chad Harbach will love this book!
Cheyenne Taylor
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
These characters are simultaneously so real you'd swear you'd met them out at a bar somewhere and larger-than-life in the situations they find themselves in. The settings--and everything else--are rendered in high definition, delicious when you want them to be and completely gut-wrenching when you don't (but you just can't help yourself from taking it all in). The language is especially well-wrought, too; every moment seems carved and polished right out of the materials of the scene it belongs t ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every so often you encounter a book that just blows you away. For me, this summer (September is still summer), Emerald City is that book. Sure, the description sounds like any number of other books – Seattle, crime syndicate, family drama – these are common pieces – but Brian Birnbaum moves them distinctly uncommon ways.

First, there’s his use of language. It’s gritty, it’s present, it’s very, very real. I felt like his characters were people I would have run into on buses, in bistros, or in boar
David Olimpio
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want to live in Brian Birnbaum’s head for a day to access the dark, loamy place he stores his word magic dust. But only a day. Any longer and I’d be big-pupiled and catatonic, out-cerebrumed and anti-cerebellumed. This novel is a wild ride, and will make you laugh even while you’re cold-sweating through his character’s choices. You might need a helmet. Or a flask of something. Followed by a shower. Birnbaum is as inventive with language as he is smart with story. He will put you into a world t ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Emerald City, Brian Birnbaum circumnavigates the limits of what language can and should do, how moral characters can and should be, and how desperate the leanings of human behaviour can and should get. The prose presents a shocking aptitude for such brilliance, that at most points a re-read seems not just essential but necessary.
Devin Kelly
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For fans of DFW, Delillo, David Mitchell, and more. Birnbaum's prose is like an arterial pathway through the world, tangential, accelerating, oxygen-rich. It's a thrilling, lens-widening read that sets the world ablaze. ...more
Michael Northen
The publication of Emerald is an impressive event: the first by Dead Rabbits Dead Rabbits Press. Birnbaum is the founder and according to co-founder Katie Rainey,"We didn't want to make those mistakes on other people's books, so Brian generously offered for his novel to be the guinea pig."A second reason for the publication is the emphasis on giving insight into Deaf culture, which Birnbaum, a child of Deaf adults (CODA), is familiar with. Emerald can be looked at with two eyes, then – what offe ...more
Jane Rhea
Apr 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Brian seems like a really nice guy... who needs an editor.
Mattia Ravasi
Video review

Very DFW, with great insight into college basketball and the trappings of both priviledge and pity.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Best for:
I cannot recommend this to anyone.

In a nutshell:
I couldn’t really tell you. I could reproduce the description from the back of the book, but I think that’s unfair to other authors whose books can be described by their readers without resorting to that. Though according to the reviews that have already seeded Good Reads it is ‘shocking.’

Worth quoting:
Here is an example of the writing that fills each page:
“He’d sooner have gotten mad at time’s perceived acceleration over life’s void of fu
Bethany Loy
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As Brian Birnbaum led me through the pages of Emerald City, I was left bewildered by the life that the author breathed into his many characters. Benison, ashamed of his Father’s corrupt career finds himself entangled in a web of crime families, scandal, and drug smuggling, which Peter relies on for his drug-induced downward spiral, and in which Julia is unwillingly caught up. The tendrils of the Mob hold everyone together, supporting their lifestyles at the same time as it threatens to strangle ...more
Keegan Lester
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Birnbaum’s Emerald City is fast-paced and raucous. A contemporary Odysseus-esque journey, where each moment, each conversation, is a fight for one’s life. Time feels like a needless and foreign construction because everything that matters is happening in the now. We like to think of people, place and narrative existing within boxes and boundaries, but this is work that is unafraid to veer. One is left feeling like they’ve been eavesdropping on a conversation they’re not supposed to be listening ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Birnbaum's prose skitters and leaps like a bolt of plasma, landing on a character's memory of an awkward sexual encounter one moment then capering into the merits of capitalism or quantum mechanics the next. A colorful, but sincere, cast of characters trade the spotlight as they navigate the city, hardships, and interpersonal connections they knowingly and unknowingly share. What starts as a reflection on basketball, college parties, and budding young love, spirals into a kaleidoscope of illegal ...more
Justin Hall
Sep 22, 2019 rated it liked it
First, I want to thank Brian and Dead Rabbits for sending out ARCs of this for me to read. I really love getting to read new stuff. I felt like I was reading a fever dream of words with Emerald City. I feel like there was an enormous amount to take in. About half way through I started piecing it all together. Brian has a very gritty set of characters and they dont hold back on showing there faults as humans. I definitely got lost on a couple of the characters though. This book took me a few pick ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shocking and full of amazing characters this is one book that if you are looking to leave your world behind you have found it. This book will suck you in and keep you there until the end of the book. This one was a blast!! We started and finished it in one sitting and man this book might be out there but it was a SHOCKER of a read. This was a wild ride with wonderful characters and an amazing story! Make sure to check it out! If you love mystery and basketball check this one out!
Jared Marcel
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Birnbaum's prose is a steam engine. It powers along, high-pressured, devouring the tracks he lays out from page to page. On display here is his wit, humour, sense of irony and depth of thought. This novel was definitely written. ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A virtuosic debut!
Joan Raciti
rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Sep 15, 2019
Tessa Chermiset
rated it it was amazing
Sep 29, 2019
Seth Katz
rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2019
Sara Francomacaro
rated it it was amazing
Sep 15, 2019
rated it it was amazing
May 11, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Jan 20, 2021
rated it liked it
Oct 02, 2019
rated it really liked it
Aug 25, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Oct 19, 2019
Lizzie Rainey
rated it it was amazing
Jul 01, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Jul 12, 2019
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • I'm Trying to Tell You I'm Sorry: An Intimacy Triptych
  • In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying
  • Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine (Bitch Planet Collected Editions, #1)
  • Promised (Birthmarked, #3)
  • Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements
  • The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness
  • Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools: The Impact of Charters on Public Education
  • Interesting Times (Discworld, #17; Rincewind #5)
  • The Water Seeker
  • American Born Chinese
  • Miles from Nowhere
  • Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
  • The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3)
  • Think Like a Freak
  • The Death of Ivan Ilych
  • The Lightness
  • Welcome to Lagos
  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Listen up, because our colleagues here at Goodreads have some excellent audiobook recommendations for you! Of course, the books they've...
46 likes · 26 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »