An unnervingly prescient, Nebula-award-winning novel explores life in a world permanently locked down in the aftermath of a pandemic.
Luce Cannon is on the road. Success is finally within her grasp: her songs are getting airtime; the venues she’s playing are getting larger. But mass shootings, bombings and now a strange contagion are closing America down around her.
The gig Luce plays tonight will turn out to be the last-ever rock show as the world’s stadiums, arenas and concert halls go dark for good.
Rosemary is too young to remember the Before. She grew up, went to school and works in the virtual world of Hoodspace.
Working for StageHoloLive, which controls what is left of the music industry, her job is to find new talent, search out the illegal backroom jams and bring musicians into the
Hoodspace holographic limelight they deserve.
But when Rosemary sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.
Sarah Pinsker is a singer, songwriter and author. Her short stories have won the Nebula, Sturgeon and Philip K. Dick Awards.
Currently finishing her second novel and fourth album, she lives with her wife in Baltimore, Maryland.
This book made me cry, I don’t think it meant to but after a year with no live music, no theatre, no mooching round art galleries, no hearing buskers in the Tube stations, no tiny gigs in sticky floored bars, no crowds, no festivals, no hugging friends with shared glee or going a bit deaf from standing too close to a speaker, a book that celebrates the necessity, the essential-ness of music, of art, of crowds, of dancing, of being present hits hard. Really, really hard.
I love music, I love going to gigs, I’ve been to hole in the wall bars with a band in the basement, I’ve been to mega stadiums. I’ve danced in fields, in back gardens and parks, I’ve missed the last train home to hear the second encore. I’ve sat on concrete floors because the singer told us to, I’ve perched on the edge of stages sipping watered down cider in plastic pint glasses while the band tunes up.
And I miss it like you wouldn’t believe. I miss the thrill of a live band, of being squeezed up way too close to other humans, of dancing with strangers, of singing along even though I really can’t sing.
And this is what this brilliant book is all about. After a pandemic and some really brutal violence, people are afraid, they’re staying home and only mingling virtually. And no recording, no live streaming is ever as good as in the flesh. Something Luce knows and Rosemary learns.
I loved Rosemary, I loved Luce, I loved their passion and optimism (R) and defiance and scepticism (L) and the way that both of them are determined that live music, shared experience, the way a bass line can go right through you to your soul if played correctly, should never really be replaced by the hollow virtual kind.
A Song For A New Day is a call to arms, to retain your love, your passion, your joy for making things, for sharing things and for experiencing it right there in front of you. Not through a screen, headphones on, alone.
I cannot wait to go to the theatre, to a gig, to hear someone play an instrument or sing live again. I cannot wait to be connected to a room full of strangers by lyrics, by a guitar riff, a drum beat.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.