Artificial Light

James Greer, Author . Akashic $15.95 (333p) ISBN 978-1-933354-00-2

Following the alleged suicide of a rock legend in 1994, a 22-year-old librarian called Fiat Lux disappears, leaving behind her 21 notebooks recording the circumstances surrounding the death. The rocker, who fronted for the band N, is known only as Kurt C, and shortly before his death, according to the notebooks, he returned to his hometown of "Dayton, O—," where he moved into the dilapidated former residence of Orville Wright. An ironic discourse on the myths around dead celebrities might be expected, but this ambitious debut novel remains more coy than keen. The notebooks unfold from multiple, obliquely identified points of view, including those of Fiat, a housebound opium-addicted Orville Wright and a local musician working on both a Wright biography and a book about "our life in rock" (perhaps an alter ego for Greer, former bassist and Guided by Voices biographer). While Greer's maverick disregard for narrative conventions works early on, the layered, disjointed structure becomes labored and confusing by mid-book. Greer's eloquence on the booze-soaked angst of the gritty Midwest alternative music scene may speak to indie fans, but too often the narrators disappear, leaving the author airing his insider opinions, stripped of the thin cloak of fiction. (July)

Reviewed on: 02/13/2006
Release date: 07/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 338 pages - 978-1-61775-085-4
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