Fiddler's Dream

Gregory Spatz, Author . Southern Methodist Univ. $22.50 (248p) ISBN 978-0-87074-508-9

The dream of becoming a Bluegrass Boy in Bill Monroe's band prompts a 19-year-old Vermont fiddler to head to Nashville in Spatz's limpid, earnest second novel (after No One but Us ), set in the near past. Jesse Alison was eight when his father, an itinerant guitar player and songwriter, left for the last time and headed South. Gifted and determined as a boy, Jesse excelled at the fiddle (as well as guitar and mandolin), encouraged by Genny, the owner of a local violin repair shop who eventually moved the place to Nashville. When Jesse arrives in Nashville, he looks up Genny, a lesbian now in her late 30s, but is crushed by the news that Monroe is in the hospital (he died in real life in 1996), his best playing behind him. Jesse stays at Genny's house, helps her in the shop and jams at the local Station Inn in the evenings with older and better players. But unfinished family business drives Jesse to seek out his father, now born again with a new wife and daughter, and it is their poignant reunion—set to music—that redeems this folksy narrative from a deliberative lassitude. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 05/15/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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