The Train in the Night: A Story of Music and Loss

Nick Coleman. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-61902-185-3
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Music journalist and first-time author Coleman’s memoir of his sudden hearing loss in one ear, and his attempts to deal with a future in which the sound of music—the thing he loves most—has been irrevocably changed, is a fantastic, sad, funny, and, finally, optimistic view of his quest “to get the music back—or at least to reconnect with it.” One day while having tea with his wife, Coleman hears a soft “pffff” in his ear, like the sound “of a kitten dropping on to a pillow”—a sound that evolves after a few days into a “wild humming” that resounds in his head “like the inside of an old fridge hooked up to a half-blown amplifier” and affects his ability to listen to his music. He spends three years adapting to his new condition during which time he seeks help from Oliver Sachs, among others. He also considers the ways his life has revolved around music and sound, and these meditations take up the bulk of his memoir. Coleman is remarkably adept at describing the moments of “hopeless disorientation” he experienced: “The reactive tinnitus took me close to the threshold of actual physical pain.” He also provides hilarious and astute observations views of many of his albums, such as the Rolling Stones’ Goat’s Head Soup, which Coleman perfectly describes as sounding “exactly how a record made on a Caribbean island by a bunch of knackered tax exiles with unlimited access to drugs ought to sound.” Agent: Jenny Hewson and Peter Straus, Rogers, Coleridge and White. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4481-3716-9
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-224-09357-6
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-09-955433-2
Ebook - 185 pages - 978-1-61902-255-3
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