The Alternative Hero

Tim Thornton, Author . Knopf $24.95 (403p) ISBN 978-0-307-27109-9

A buddy comedy with a Nick Hornby vibe, this debut novel from British musician Thornton charms from the very first chord. As a schoolboy in the late ’80s, Clive Beresford is a devoted fan of indie band the Thieving Magpies. Lance Webster, the band’s frontman, becomes Clive’s hero, a pop culture god Clive follows from gig to gig. After Lance publicly self-destructs and disappears from the public eye, Clive stumbles into an adulthood of failed romance and dismal job prospects and wonders if he’ll ever get out of his rut. But after he discovers his former idol living a few doors down the street, Clive makes painfully awkward contact, and the two begin an unlikely friendship with Clive pretending to be clueless about who his neighbor is while secretly intent on writing a tell-all book. Thornton nails the changing music scene of the past two decades, combining real-life artists with the imaginary Magpies, and effortlessly captures the magnetic allure of great rock (“The album gave me an unprecedented sense of belonging . Or at least, the potential of belonging”). Best of all, though, are the quirky lead characters, two has-beens who jump-start each other’s lives. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/01/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 403 pages - 978-0-307-45613-7
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-224-08724-7
Paperback - 387 pages - 978-0-09-953178-4
Open Ebook - 265 pages - 978-0-307-27236-2
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4090-7581-3
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