Read: M. Specktor, That Summertime SoundSeptember 9, 2009
It’s after Labor Day, which means that the summer of 2009 is a fast-fading memory (in US and Canadian culture anyway, even if the astronomers don’t agree). But the debut novel by Matthew Specktor, That Summertime Sound, looks even farther back, to a summer in the 1980s. The narrator has just finished his freshman year of college, and is lured to Columbus, OH by the promise of sharing a town with the girl of his dreams and his musical heroes, Lords of Oblivion.
Heavily laced with references to artists from Hüsker Dü to Elvis Costello (and a disconcertingly veiled-but-transparent reference to Bauhaus), the prose and narrative of That Summertime Sound are sparse and evocative. This works well to elicit the heat and sounds of the Columbus summer but less well to draw the characters, who come across as rather thinly sketched, especially the women. Nevertheless, it’s an engaging read, especially for anyone who was a music-loving adolescent.
More information on the book, including MP3s of excerpts read by Jeremy Irons, J. Mascis, James Franco and others, can be found here. Largehearted Boy asked Matthew Specktor to create and discuss a playlist for the book – you can read it here.
Buy the book here. I also have one free copy to give away. Just e-mail or message me on Twitter before 12 noon Eastern on Monday, September 14th, and I’ll pick someone at random from the responses and have a copy of the book sent out to you (US and Canada addresses only, I’m afraid).