Thursday, August 2, 2012
An American Tune
Of course, music has always been important to young people—but never in quite the way it was from the moment the Beatles appeared in 1964 through the early 1970’s. From the sweet rebellion of the Beatles to Crosby, Stills & Nash’s call to arms, to the descent into the madness of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” it was the soundtrack for the angst and euphoria of being young at that particular moment in time.
Our parents, Don Draper’s age, didn’t get it, which made it all the more appealing. God forbid, we should be like them. “Never trust a person over thirty,” we said.
Now we’re twice that age—and more. We have grandchildren, for God’s sake. How freaking weird is that?
The truth is, an awful lot of us—even the most radical of us—ended up being a whole lot like our parents. We couldn’t have imagined then how hard life would be, how you'd have to work every minute of every single day, adjusting constantly along the way, if you still want to be the person you were dead-set on becoming when you were young. We couldn’t imagine how we’d come out on the other end wondering how we got where we are.
All of which is to say, I’ve got a new novel coming out from Indiana University Press, Breakaway Books, this September. It’s called An American Tune. These lines from the Paul Simon song of the same name are the epigraph:
“…we come on the ship they call Mayflower/We come on the ship that sailed the moon/We come in the age’s most uncertain hour/And sing an American tune.”
Here’s the catalogue copy:
While reluctantly accompanying her husband and daughter to freshman orientation at Indiana University, Nora Quillen hears someone call her name, a name she has not heard in more than 25 years. Not even her husband knows that back in the ‘60s she was Jane Barth, a student deeply involved in the antiwar movement. An American Tune tells the story of Jane, a girl from a working-class family who fled town after she was complicit in a deadly incident, and Nora, the woman she became, a wife and mother living a quiet life in northern Michigan. An achingly poignant account of a family crushed under the weight of suppressed truths, An American Tune illuminates the irrevocability of our choices and how those choices come to compose the tune of our lives.
I’ve written numerous novels over the years, but An American Tune is the one I’ve been writing all my life. I hope you’ll read and love and tell others about it.
The official publication date is September 14.
You can order An American Tune from Indiana University Press by clicking here.
Or from Amazon.com by clicking here
And, by the way, every chapter is titled with a Sixties song. Here’s the playlist.
Where were you when these songs were on the radio?
An American Tune
Turn, Turn, Turn
Blowin’ in the Wind
Tomorrow Never Knows
Bird on a Wire
For What It’s Worth
Paint It Black
Good Day Sunshine
(I Can’t Get No)Satisfaction
Teach Your Children
Long & Winding Road
Mercy Mercy Me
Things We Said Today
She’s Not There
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Stand by Me/Ben E. King
Hazy Shade of Winter
High Out of Time (Alas, no link.)
The Sunshine of Your Love
Let It Be
Here, There and Everywhere
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE