Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sway by Zachary Lazar

Little Brown, January 2008

Thank goodness for Zachary Lazar!! For awhile there I was ready to throw my book critic hat into the ring and wait for someone to stomp on it - there was a long period there where I was positive that the publishing industry was done for. Then along came Sway by Zachary Lazar. Tackling three separate story lines set in the late 1960s - the founding of the Rolling Stones, the Manson family and the strange life of filmmaker Kenneth Anger - Lazar leads the reader on a historical, emotional and physical journey that is at times unsettling but is always remarkable.

A fictionalized account of these three events, the reader enters the back halls of poverty ridden London, the mansions of the British countryside, the Laurel Canyon ranches of record producers and movie stars, the hippie commune of Manson. As each narrator takes us on a journey into the lives, both tragic and profound, we are propelled into their world, a world that we want to learn about, a world filled with freedome and a sense of absolute angst. Lazar's careful use of words adds imagery to each story - this is not simply a book we read but rather one we live. Lazar is my new hero.

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