A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
A hodgepodge of music business types make up this patchwork of pathos in Egan’s ode to the fracturing of our communication in the new century. A Visit from the Goon Squad could be an early sign of where the novel is headed in the iPad era.
Memorable Line: “Everybody sounds stoned, because they’re emailing people the whole time they’re talking to you.”
Great Jones Street by Don DeLillo
Bucky Wunderlick is a rock star with a world of fans waiting on his next word, but does he have anything left to say? DeLillo probes the bizarre power of 1970s pop fame, and urban decay, all the while suggesting the two might have more than a little to do with each other.
“’Fame,’ he said. ‘It won’t happen. But if it does happen. But it won’t happen. But if it does. But it won’t.’”
How the Mistakes Were Made by Tyler McMahon
Laura Loss is a musician-barista in Seattle’s nineties music scene searching for a way out, when she stubbles upon two young musicians looking for help fulfilling their rock dreams. The subsequent band, the Mistakes, make a few, with Laura revealing her role in their demise in this gripping rock confessional.
Memorable Line: “I sometimes wonder what would’ve become of underground music in this country had Ford never produced [the Econoline van].”
The Blue Bourbon Orchestra by Carson Mell
The only writer to appears on this list twice, Mell recounts the plight of middle-aged guitarist and wanderer Charles Leslie deBeau, who finds himself in the titular blues band, spending years touring the south on a shoestring and winding up with a murder rap. Mell refines his storytelling chops from Saguaro to create this heftier, more realistic tome, but still with his patented seductive voice.
Memorable Line: “You only get to choose one path. And it’s not even a path. We just call it that to feel comfortable.”
The Wishbones by Tom Perrotta
Dave Raymond loves nothing as much as playing in his wedding band the Wishbones, but at thirty-one, the rest of Dave’s life is crowding him toward something more substantial. Perrotta tells the tale of a reluctant adult who lives to play cover songs that make people sweat on the dance floor.
Memorable Line: “Once, out of curiosity, he squeezed himself into a pair of leather pants, and it hadn’t been a pretty sight.”
Check in on Thursday, when we'll do #5-2.
Yours in laying down the law,
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