Glimpses Paperback – Aug 6 2010
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
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.Read more ›
Did you ever notice how full of feeling some Beach Boys songs are? How "Good Vibrations" is a jolt of pure happiness and hope, a ray of sonic sunshine? This is a book for people who've noticed things like that. But "Glimpses" is much more than a love letter to great music or a document of the late sixties --it's a shamanic journey into human powers of healing, repair, and redemption through spiritual and emotional connection.
The book is actually set in the late eighties: Tienanmen Square, Lockerbie, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Milli Vanilli, Richard Marx, Martika... The ordinary-guy protagonist, stereo repairman Ray Shackleford, becomes able, through music, to enter altered states of consciousness and being--he closes his eyes, sinks into the music, and he's twenty years in the past, with the Beatles, with Jim Morrison, with Brian Wilson.
IMO, here's where the author turns what could have been a straightforward novel of time-travel into a shamanic journey of raw spiritual power--because it's NOT the past Ray is visiting, as his actions there never affect the present. I'd argue that he's entering the collective unconscious of our species--a sort of matrix of memory and desire. While in this realm of the unconscious, Ray Shackleford, music lover and accidental shaman, meets the musical gods of the late Sixties, on a mission to save their great works lost to mental illness or death. Instead of just repairing stereos, he tries to repair the past: the lost life, the lost futures, and the lost music.
Amazingly, the human drama of Ray's everyday life is even more compelling than his nonordinary travels.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Awesome novel. Someone else gave this a one star and I can't help wondering if that person and I really read the same book.Published 1 month ago by PG
Lewis Shiner is BRILLIANT. If U're a music fan, U'll love GLIMPSES. Shiner balances his narrator's personal life & problems (dead father, crumbling marriage, lost feeling, new... Read morePublished on Aug. 19 2002 by Tracy Deaton