September 30, 2008

Anything Goes: A Novel (2002)

More rock fiction. This one bums around with a blues cover band as they run a circuit through dives and roadhouses up and down the East Coast. Madison Smartt Bell's story follows a young bassist as confronts his fathers abuse, enjoys the late night/early morning attentions of various women on the road, and nurses the repercussions of an encounter with violent frat boys. I guess it is a coming of age story, if learning to write songs signifies maturity. Although there are some dark moments, those are mostly just ruminations on the characters' pasts. It reads fast and fun - a simple story spiced up with a couple colorful characters, plenty of band decisions washed down with rail whiskey, and lots of music talk. The characters are all fans of music they cover as much as they are musicians. Their ruminations on topics like Emmylou Harris' voice and guitar solos, were some of my favorite sections. Oh, and the lead character's name is Jesse. Cool.


Nightrain said...

Do you even listen to music anymore... Or just read about it? Sheeeeeeeeit.

awmercy said...

Ha ha. I got a couple album reviews in the works.

But it's true, I've been enjoying reading about music lately, especially fiction. Before recently the only rock fiction I'd read was Roddy Doyle's The Commitments and Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. I loved both books, so I figured there must be a couple more out there. Plus, they generally are very fast reads.

Got any suggestions for ones I might have missed?

Mona said...

Have you ever checked out any Andy Greenwald ("Nothing Feels Good" and/or "Miss Misery: The Novel"*)? I think you might looove him. It's about music, but also social commentary about musical movements.

And of course Chuck Klosertman. Do you like him? His books are like manifestos. And hysterical. You might like "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" and/or "Killing Yourself To Live." I wholeheartedly recommend these.

*haven't gotten around to it yet, but heard good things.

awmercy said...

I've never heard of Andy Greenwald. I'll have to check him out.

I've enjoyed all of Klosterman's books so far and I look forward to reading his new novel, which comes out on the 16th.

Mona said...

Oh wow, you must check out Andy Greenwald. He's got the best life/job. Great writer too!

Start with "Nothing Feels Good." You will totally relate to those bands if you were an emo kid growing up, at all. He'll relive the experience/excitment of going to shows!

awmercy said...

I never listened to emo, although some of my close friends did (the early years anyway).

I'll read up on it.