I’d started this book earlier in the year when I was on a music-themed novel kick, but set it down. I’m so glad I picked it up again as it was a master-class for a writer on character creation and how to weave that around a kick-ass plot.
This is the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. Eliza's reverence for rock is equalled only by Paul's, and the two fall wildly in love.
When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza must make a heartbreaking decision that leads to Paul's sudden disappearance and a surprise knock-your-socks-off ending.
As much as I loved the book there isn’t too much to say about it. It’s powerful love story, with a fantastic set of characters who were wholly unique to one another. The love element wasn’t too mushy or comparatively underplayed, it was just right. The writing was very distinctive, which meant that the story became more than just another love story.
The book was narrated by three characters; Eliza narrated the large majority, a funny music-obsessed rock journalist, seconded by the opinionated, witty Paul and lastly Loring, the sensitive and polite ‘other guy’ in an altogether different love triangle.
What was so lasting about this book was how real it was, the assessment of the music industry, the characters that made mistakes and lied. And then something really strange happened, the plot made some manoeuvres which seemed wildly implausible, reflecting the UNREALITY of life and the strange depths that art can make us go to. I think the strange plot developments were there to show us how fragile the world of music and our hearts are.
This was more than a book about music, it was about humanity and how dreams that are pure on the surface can be twisted by culture into something unrecognisable.