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Glimpses: A Novel [Hardcover]

Lewis Shiner
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1993
While trying to cope with the recent loss of his father and the emptiness of his marriage, Ray Shackleford ""recreates"" wonderful rock-and-roll recording sessions that never happened. 25,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Shiner ( Slam , LJ 8/1/90, among others) has written what may be the first rock n roll time-travel novel. Ray Chackleford is a self-employed electronics repairman whose marriage is foundering and whose father has recently died. These unresolved relationships are complicated when Ray travels to the Mexican site of his father's death and promptly falls in love with a woman even more unstable than he. In the midst of this emotional turmoil, Ray--a rock drummer during his youth in the late Sixties--begins to hear in his head and manages to transfer to tape legendary unfinished recordings by Jim Morrison, Brian Wilson, and Jimi Hendrix. This music is accompanied by "journeys" into the troubled lives of these rock musicians. Shiner's appealing main character and his gripping style overcome the less believable aspects of his story. With the current comeback of the Sixties, this novel should be widely popular.
- A.J. Wright, Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Can the 60's cure the 90's? That's what Texas stereo repairman Ray Shackleford struggles to prove in this strenuous fantasy of rock- and-roll hits that never were. Shortly after his unloving father drowns in Cozumel, Ray starts to imagine he's hearing impossible songtracks that he's able to record directly from his head. He takes his tape of the Beatles' never- recorded hit ``The Long and Winding Road'' to L.A. producer Graham Hudson, who's already remastered three volumes of Glimpses from rock's legendary past, and Graham persuades him to go after bigger game. So Ray travels back in time, changing history enough so that Jim Morrison can record Celebration of the Lizard and Brian Wilson can persist in his breakthrough album Smile. There's money to be made here, of course, but what Ray and Graham really want is to save the world by recalling the aging rock audience to its ardent roots. (Maybe a little too ardent, as when Ray wonders, ``Was it that way for everybody, music and sex and politics and love all inextricably part of each other, or is it just me?'') Trying to come to terms with his hated father's death, Ray takes time out to retrace his steps in Cozumel, attempting to re-create his own experience of the 60's more directly in 1989, but his romance with a diving instructor seems to open wide the rift in his ten-year marriage without giving him a satisfactory alternative, and he ends up repeating his father's experience instead of accepting it. So it's back to the past for one last try--with a Jimi Hendrix album that Ray hopes can keep the 60's from ending. As you'd expect from versatile fantasist Shiner (Slam, 1990, etc.), Ray's attempts to keep the faith by resurrecting Jimi and laying his own father to rest are powerfully affecting. Much more than yuppie reunions like The Big Chill, this captures a generation's sweet, desperate yearning for the 60's--though it ends up as authentically woolly as the period. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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By A Customer
I was a little skeptical regarding this book when I first heard of it -- thinking how poorly executed the concept of traveling back in time and finishing "lost" rock classics could be in the hands of a hack or lousy writer. Instead, I find myself completely surprised and amazed that Shiner has pulled it off! He really brings alive LA in the 1960s, and makes you really feel that you are right there with Brian Wilson as he finally finishes "Smile" or hanging out on Sunset Strip with Jim Morrison on a drunken, wild bender....
This is a highly imaginative and creative book, taking a great concept and just executing it beautifully. On top of that, Shiner has weaved in a very moving story of personal redemption, a marriage on the rocks, and a sense that the ideals of the 60s have been lost or diluted through time, attrition, and missed opportunities.
If you have an interest in this subject matter, you will enjoy this book and turn every page with interest, waiting for the next flight of fancy of the very creative mind of Lewis Shiner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars listen with your heart - you will understand Oct. 4 2003
All right, I know it's strange to start speaking about a book, which touches upon the Doors, Beach Boys and Hendrix with a quote from a Disney song, but it IS an appropriate one.
Because this book is not only about music, but also about how we react to it, and how our life changes (maybe) because of music.
I'm too young to remember the 60s (being born in 1976), but this novel really fleshed out that era and its people for me. I think that for those, who really was there it will be even better.
Glimpses is not fantasy in ebveryday sence. I'd say it's magical realism, not unlike Jonathan Carrol or Haruki Murakami.
And the thing that makes it really great, is that it can convey to you the feeling of listening to the best music that never was, and I can't think of many authors who can wright about music so vividly. That's a tremendous achivement.
In short: this book lets you glimpse another world. And it as real as this one. I don't know how Mr. Shiner does it. It's a kind of magic
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical! Feb. 22 2003
Jill likes this folk song that is quite appropriate for our generation. The song, written and sung by a Gen Xer, tells about how all the Baby Boomers tell her that "it must be sad to have been born a little late." Being born late, the Gen Xer missed out on so much: the Summer of Love, Peace Marches, etc. The Gen Xer thinks this is a load of crap and wishes the Baby Boomers would just get over it (and grow up, for chrissakes). I've expressed a similar sentiment before in these pages, but directed at the generation before the Boomers and their fixation on the crash of the American Pie and the loss of Valens et al. So when I say that I found this Boomer book--about how the music and culture of their collective childhood was so great--fabulous, you know that it faced a tough audience.
Glimpses does not hide the fact that it is about the 60s and rock music (given the demographics of the population, probably wise--there are a lot more reminiscing Boomers than fed-up Xers), and I likely took my time turning to it because it wore its influences on its jacket. I bought the book when it came out because I knew Lew Shiner from Austin and had all his other books. Lew's previous novels are kind of a mixed bag. His first, Frontera, was published by Baen, not your usual source for quality literature, and while enjoyable enough at the time, I'm not sure that Frontera has weathered quite as well as its cyberpunk contemporaries. In his second novel, Deserted Cities of the Heart, Lew's style and subject matter improved tremendously. In my internal cataloging schema, I tend to group Deserted Cities of the Heart with Pat Murphy's The City, Not Long After and Karen Joy Fowler's Artificial Things. See the paradigm shift: from Cyberpunk to feminism in one novel.
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