SAY GOODBYE by Lewis Shiner

Book Reviews
Say Goodbye by Lewis Shiner
By Lord Ouch
Oct 1, 1999, 03:58

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SAY GOODBYE: THE LAURIE MOSS STORY by Lewis Shiner; St. Martins Press, 1999

Straying from the author's past association with Cyberpunk, Lewis Shiner's latest novel is a fictional biography of a talented but unpolished professional musician. The travails of Laurie Moss, an emotionally dinged-up and mildly obsessive singer/songwriter, are presented from the perspective of a journalist who likewise aspires to a career in the music business. As Laurie and a group of session musicians become a functioning band, the complexity of their intra-group relationships are depicted with keen detail by Shiner, himself a former musician. Once Laurie jumps through enough hoops to land a record deal the band embarks on a lengthy tour that is marred by recurring fits of jealousy and competition. While on the road the band transforms from a critic's pet sort of group that performs obscure covers by Tonio K. and Tim Hardin into a less serious one that enjoys playing songs made famous by Pat Benatar and Bon Jovi. The audience reaction is favorable but the suits at the record company are aghast, and from that point on their involvement wavers between neglectful and meddlesome. In time, both the band and the label crumble and the events that comprise the rest of the novel are easily surmised. Similar stories have been told but Shiner's novel is surprisingly fresh and his portrayals of rock and roll dives, the musician's lifestyle, and his hilarious parodies of rock critics are presented with compassion.

- Lord Ouch

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