I have to say I’ve been struggling a bit in hindsight with my criticism of your fictional aspect to the book. I was actually leery of your combining a fictionalized character with so much story behind such an important record being readily available, but you really did pull that element off well, too. Perhaps much better than I suggest in my final paragraph above. Other 33 1/3 volumes had done it, as had other writers elsewhere, to a less satisfying level of literature. Thinking back on it, you did a really good job of telling a story many of us can identify with — the feeling that the creator of an album (or story, for example) is a twin of ours, creating a disturbing simulation of our own existence. I had bought “Shoot Out The Lights” just before my deep, several-year engagement with a girl fell apart, and the LP didn’t seem to have any lyrics that couldn’t have been written about my own existence. You captured that weird energy between fan/listener and singer/songwriter so well that it’s been more memorable than a lot of other fiction I’ve read this year. So, well, I want to thank you and encourage people even more to check out your analysis of Richard & Linda Thompson’s (arguable tie for best) album, with less hesitation than my review originally stated. You’re a damned good writer!
Man! High praise, indeed. Thanks, Chris! If you're ever in Austin, let me buy you a beer.
Just a reminder: Don't forget I'm reading in LA at Metropolis Books on Saturday, August 30, at 6 pm with Kim Cooper and David Smay. It will be 33 1/3-tastic!
Also, finally with the sad news: Dave Smith, a scholar of Richard Thompson's music, recently passed away at the far-too-young age of 58. His book The Great Valerio, a close analysis of Richard Thompson's themes and inspirations, is a surprising and pleasurable read for all RT fans. And you can download it for free from the Internet. Do the man proud.