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Fiction Dystopian

City in Flames

by (author) Tomas Hachard

Flying Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Dystopian, Coming of Age, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 18
  • Grade: 12


Exit West meets Normal People in this moving dystopian love story eerily in tune with our times.

At once evocative and propulsive, City in Flames is a love story about two isolated people with a deep yet fragile bond trying to find their way to each other while political disorder engulfs the world around them.

Sara is a graduate student living away from home and struggling to finish her degree. When she kindles a long-distance relationship with Kevin, a disillusioned and apathetic IT worker, the two watch as the city that Kevin lives in, and Sara grew up in, slowly rises up against P., a recently elected populist leader. As protests escalate to a night of devastating fires, the impending political breakdown pushes Sara and Kevin’s relationship to the brink and leaves them torn between the turmoil of the present and a hope for the future, between their longing for connection and their terror of commitment.

City in Flames offers a timely, intimate examination of our political moment, mixing the edge of Exit West and the modern romance of Normal People. It is a story that illuminates how people can grow separated from each other, the ways that these bonds can be healed and re-established, and how humans define themselves through their relationships with others.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Tomas Hachard's work has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Slate, NPR, Guernica Magazine, The LA Review of Books, and Hazlitt, among many others. He was born in Argentina and raised in Toronto, where he currently lives with his partner and son.

Editorial Reviews


City in Flames is a sharp, spirited exploration of the forces that can separate and bring us together. A modern dystopian love story set amidst an alarmingly recognizable world that finds tenderness in the chaos.”
—Iain Reid, author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Foe, and We Spread

City in Flames is a charming and invigorating addition to the modern dystopian genre. Like all great speculative fiction, it’s a profound examination of the fragility of civilization and the strength of the human spirit when intimacy is needed most. With this novel, Tomas Hachard has tapped into the essence of humanity, fostering a powerful spirit of love and hope as the world we know crumbles to make way for something new. It’s an ideal love story for the twenty-first century.”
—Waubgeshig Rice, author of Moon of the Crusted Snow

"An original and tender love story at the heart of a fiery political drama that cuts close to the bone. I cared so much about Kevin and Sara — their messages to one another in this almost-epistolary novel are equal parts hilarious, raw, and vulnerable, and you will fall in love with these characters, who are trying their best to live in a very flawed world."
—Harriet Alida Lye, author of The Honey Farm and Natural Killer