It's Only Rock and Roll: An Anthology of Rock and Roll Short Stories

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9781567920895: It's Only Rock and Roll: An Anthology of Rock and Roll Short Stories
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It's Only Rock and Roll is the first anthology of fiction ever published that deals exclusively with the intoxicating urgency, iconic power, and even disturbing underside of rock music, arguably the most influential art form of the past fifty years. In pieces that range from the wildly comic to the achingly poignant, from surreal tales of excess to small moments of human joy and pathos, these twenty-two stories by some of the most exciting American writers currently at work celebrate the many sides of rock and roll and its remarkable cultural impact.


Among the many gems here are Lee K. Abbott's wild portrait of a delusional, megalomaniacal rock star on his comeback; Lance Olsen's apocalyptic vision of a rock and roll future; T. Coraghessan Boyle's wryly comic depiction of a recently deceased guitarist trying to find his way to "rock and roll heaven" (via just about every kind of musical heaven imaginable); Kathleen Warnock's wistful tale of a schoolteacher in the 1980s who meets the real Elvis (for those of you who wondered, he is indeed alive and well, and traveling through the South in a beat-up Cadillac); Janice Eidus's hip romance between a fifties doo-wop singer and his high-school sweetheart; Lucinda Ebersole's fine riff on Kafka's Metamorphosis, in which a "nineties guy" named Sammy wakes up one morning as a sixties moptop Beatle; and Geoffrey Becker's moving story of a road trip taken by a guitar-playing father and his teenage son, a journey on which they learn the real meaning of the blues.


Also included are pieces by Madison Smartt Bell, Rochelle Ratner, François Camoin, Bruce Jay Friedman, Jill McCorkle, and ten other comparable talents.


As diverse and exciting as the music that inspired it, It's Only Rock and Roll is both a great collection of fiction and a fresh approach to one of the most enduring, riveting, and creative musical forms of our time.

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From Publishers Weekly:

How different this anthology would be if it had been published in, say, 1972, when rock and roll still had its messianic buzz. Twenty-five years later we have a book of 22 stories about rock in which not a single character even thinks about doing acid. If that makes you feel, well, old, welcome to the overriding theme of the book. Jill McCorkle captures the mood here in the wonderful "Final Vinyl Days" (also the title of her current collection from Algonquin), in which the narrator, a mid-30s male rock aficionado, experiences both the phasing-out of real records and the parallel rejection (by a series of girlfriends) of his alternative, non-advancing lifestyle. In a similar vein, the 35-year-old father in Geoffrey Becker's "Bluestown" (from his novel of that name) removes his 15-year-old son from high school for an unauthorized journey to Canada, ostensibly to share his last shot at a steady gig but really in a hurtful effort to overcome his own sense of failure. Then there is the mood of rueful mundaneness in Madison Smartt Bell's "Never Mind," covering a day in the life of a "covers" band, whose members know that it will never make the big time. Still, all is not resignation. More upbeat tales include Kevin Downs's funny story of how an ex-punker came to love that schlock classic, Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"; Harold Jaffee's stream-of-consciousness post-gonzo rant "Madonna"; and Lucinda Ebersole's throwaway, "Bigger Than Jesus," about a man who wakes up as a Beatle--Ringo, of course.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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