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The Rhythm of the Road: A Novel Hardcover – Jan 9 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (Jan. 9 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312359446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312359447
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 16.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g

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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A Closer Look at Country Music Culture! Jan. 23 2007
By Viviane Crystal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"...will you look at the sight of it, Jo, will you have a look at that." Josephine and Bobby Pickering, father and daughter, spend most of the year driving cross-country in England. They live the life of free-spirits unhindered by the schedules and home issues of most people. They look at everything, exploring further when fascinated and dismissing when the subject or object fails to hold their attention.

But what they often think about and yet never fully explore are the people and events that have shaped their personality, that haunt, terrorize, and plague them with grief to the point of unresolved depression. So Bobby reminisces about family and finds his comfort in the sweetness and sorrow of country music. Never do we hear much from him about Jo's mother, Rosalie, once she disappears from their lives. It's Jo who will deal with the disappearance in a most unexpected manner later in the novel.

Jo is a people-watcher and immediately links to a young country singer, Cosima, with whom she later develops a sister-like relationship that really hints of the yearnings of a child for a mother. It is Cosima who initially helps Jo cope with the "departure" of Bobby, but what emerges over time becomes a hatred imploding and threatening to become murderous.

Jo will eventually come to grips with her personal demons, but that's not the focus of this artistic work of fiction. Albyn Leah Hall is a literary artist who knows how to get under the character's surface appearance and reveal the "whole" personality with all of its grace, grit, and ambiguity. The reader is compelled to follow these characters despite likes or dislikes. They are so fascinating because they possess the qualities of "everyman," - you and me!

In the beginning of the novel, one of the characters is reading a book about culture. It is the revelation of what really drives culture that is also the brilliant subplot threading through the rhythm of this novel. Art's motives and visions run deep through the hearts and minds of musicians, again touching the reader because of the empathy in the experience.

Enchanting! A writer very much worth watching now and in the future!

Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on January 23, 2007
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This book grabbed my attention Jan. 11 2007
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Rhythm of the Road is an engrossing story about Jo, daughter of a truck driver, and her fanatical fixation on an up-and-coming country singer, Cosima. It is a story of what happens when a fan crosses the line, becoming so obsessed that she discards everything and everyone that grounded her in reality.

Jo believes Cosima will love and appreciate her undying admiration. Yet is through the song lyrics that Jo is brought to the precipice of insanity, believing Cosima speaks to her about longing, pain, love.

Jo's father, Bobby, a single parent who suffers from bouts of depression, raised Jo from birth--until he disappears. Author Albyn Leah Hall pulls aside the curtain for us to glimpse into the world of Bobby and Jo's mother, Rosalie. I felt a tenderness for these two characters as the author unveils how they are trying to do the best they can, without focusing on their flaws. As Jo searches for love and the need to belong, she finds herself in dangerous exploits that further add to her insanity, culminating into an unpredictable outcome.

I could not put this book down as my heart clutched with concern for Jo as she sought out the meaning of friendship and life. This was one of the best book s I have read in a long time and would recommend it highly.

Armchair Interviews says: Characters you really connect with.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
a gripping journey Jan. 19 2007
By R. Hyams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This taut, suspenseful novel is about many things, among them country music. It's also about travelling, as its title suggests, and about the bewildered search for a sense of place and identity. You could distil all this by saying that it's about loneliness; which brings us back to country music.

Country music links and divides the anti-heroine, Josephine, and the object of her obsession, Cosima. More, it links and divides American and British culture, and Albyn Leah Hall delineates these similarities and differences with a vividness I've never seen before.

There are three main characters in The Rhythm of the Road, but Josephine's the protagonist; and Hall uses her first-person narrative to allow us into a journey that might otherwise seem melodramatic or grotesque. In fact, it's one of the book's great achievements that you never give up on Josephine, however ridiculous or sinister her behaviour.

Slipping easily from time-scale to time-scale, voice to voice without ever losing momentum, the author balances wit, horror and tenderness with equal deftness; in the end, I was moved to tears. To sum up: a page-turner, written in a clear and accessible style, that is also about important things. In other words, a real piece of American art.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An Exquisite Tale of Lonliness and (Be)Longing May 7 2007
By Patricia Oliansky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Albyn Hall's second novel covers the painful experiences of growing up in rather singular circumstances. Beginning with a negligent mother and hapless, though well-meaning father whose life revolves around trucking and traveling the lesser music scene, her central character - a young girl isolated by this lifestyle - negotiates relationships and forms attachments without adequate social savvy. Throughout, Hall provides fully-formed participants in a gripping plot which takes her heroine from childhood into young adulthood, from England to America and from misery into a possibly hopeful future. A very insightful and beautifully written work. Highly recommended.
poignant reading Oct. 8 2007
By Elizabeth Byrd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Rhythm of the Road is a poignant read. Jo is a heart breaking character who is so full of life and emotion and a need to be loved. Albyn Leah Hall truly captures the angst of young womanhood! At the same, her depictions of "life on the road" particularly in the UK are engrossing. I couldn't put this book down and look forward to more writing by this author!

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