“This is a short novel that Jonathan Lethem published a few years ago about a bunch of young people who form a band in Los Angeles. They’re writing songs and trying to rehearse. In the course of the book, before the band breaks up, they play maybe three times – once at a radio show, once at a party and one other time. That’s their whole performing career. I’ve never read anything, whether it was fiction or nonfiction, that so completely captured the way people come together to create a piece of music that transcends anyone’s ambitions, and what each of them brought to that piece of music in terms of talent or creativity. It captures how people working together can create something that stands apart from them, and takes on its own existence and its own reason for being. What they create is alive – in a way even more than they are. It’s the Frankenstein theory of art. Lethem captures this with wonderful charm. His characters will be playing and it will all come together. As they realise what’s happening, they’re almost awestruck at what they’ve created. Then they’re terrified that it’s an illusion and that the music will somehow vanish. And that’s what happens. I’ve never read anything that captures that feeling so well.” Read more...
The best books on Rock Music
Musicians, Music Critics & Scholar