A sweeping, funny, and poignant novel about a tight-knit group of twentysomethings in New York whose lives are forever altered by an unexpected tragedy-from the beloved and widely acclaimed author of The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards As Kristopher Jansma's absorbing new novel opens, five friends are making their way through heavy snowfall to gather at the lavish holiday party of the art gallery where Irene, the most enigmatic of the bunch, works as an assistant. It's 2008, five years after the group graduated from college together: Sara Sherman, a blog editor and social butterfly; George Murphy, her caring, if troubled, astronomer boyfriend; Jacob Blaumann, a poet manqué and their loudmouth third wheel; William Cho, an awkward but well-meaning investment banker; and Irene Richmond, a visionary artist in her own right. But this party marks a more momentous evening than any of them realize. Irene will first notice a curious lump under her eye. William will fall desperately in love with her. And George will, at long last, ask Sara to marry him. We follow this cast of rich, warmly drawn characters as they scrape by chasing their dreams in Great Recession New York, still a challenge in their late twenties, after other acquaintances have dropped like flies and they must cling tighter to one another for support. Their greatest test yet is about to arrive, when Irene confesses that a biopsy of her lump revealed it to be a malignant bone tumor. Over the next year, she undergoes difficult rounds of treatment and the group struggles to carry on together as her illness threatens to tear them irreparably apart. A powerful and transfixing follow-up to Jansma's celebrated debut, Why We Came to the City paints a portrait of a generation and tells an unforgettable story of hope, love, and friendship.