Perfect Tunes

Emily Gould. Avid Reader, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9749-9
Gould’s sharply observant novel (after Friendship) follows an aspiring singer-songwriter on the fringes of New York City’s rock music scene. In the early 2000s, 22-year-old Laura moves from Columbus, Ohio, into her high school friend Callie’s East Village apartment, too late to catch the neighborhood’s “mythic version of itself that existed in her mind.” While working as a greeter at a slick lounge, she dreams of a music career and begins dating and doing drugs with Dylan, singer and guitarist for an up-and-coming band. After Dylan dies in a drug-related accidental drowning, Callie and Laura are invited to replace Dylan in the band, but Laura, pregnant with Dylan’s child, opts not to. Callie joins, and later, single mom Laura moves to Brooklyn, teaches music classes, and settles down with a divorced father. By 2016, Laura’s baby has grown into a rebellious teenager and Laura continues to waver between making ends meet and pursuing her dream. While Gould falters when depicting emotional connections, she offers vivid glimpses of N.Y.C.’s recent past and impresses with striking language: a hangover makes Laura’s head “feel like a black banana,” and her baby is a “bomb” that requires “steady-handed defusing.” Gould’s portrait of a would-be artist as a young woman offers fresh, poignant insights into the challenges faced by the city’s transplanted dreamers. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 12/04/2019
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0611-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0613-7
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