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Sway

Sway Cover

ISBN13: 9780316113090
ISBN10: 0316113093
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Three dramatic and emblematic stories intertwine in Zachary Lazar's extraordinary new novel, SWAY--the early days of the Rolling Stones, including the romantic triangle of Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards; the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the community of Charles Manson and his followers. Lazar illuminates an hour in American history when rapture found its roots in idolatrous figures and led to unprovoked and inexplicable violence. Connecting all the stories in this novel is Bobby Beausoleil, a beautiful California boy who appeared in an Anger film and eventually joined the Manson "family." With great artistry, Lazar weaves scenes from these real lives together into a true but heightened reality, making superstars human, giving demons reality, and restoring mythic events to the scale of daily life.


"One hypnotic tone poem.... It is not the now-historic acts of violence that make Sway so riveting, but its vivid character portraits and decadent, muzzy atmosphere, all rendered with the heightened sensory awareness associated with drugs and paranoia. The near miniaturist precision with which he describes Keith Richards's attempts to master his guitar, Brian Jones's acid trips and Anger's obsessive desire for Beausoleil bring this large-scale tableau into stunning relief." --Liz Brown, Time Out New York

Review:

"A s Mick Jagger sang in the 1970 song'Sway,' 'It's just that demon life has got me in its sway.' In Lazar's second novel, he uses a number of real 'demon lives' from the '60s — the Stones and their entourage; Kenneth Anger, the filmmaker who shot Scorpio Rising; and Bobby Beausoleil, a musician and Manson family associate — to channel the era's dread and exhilaration. Lazar shows the decade's descent as the culture of youth (represented most clearly by the Rolling Stones as icons of swinging London) responds to assassinations, the war in Vietnam, the repression in Czechoslovakia and the shedding of navet about drugs. Lazar sketches out his narrative through discrete episodes: Bobby's first criminal job with Manson; Anger's filming of Scorpio Rising; the breakup of Anita Pallenberg and Brian Jones; and a series of Anger's failed film projects. Anger serves as the narrative's lynchpin, and Lazar could have easily cast him as a tawdry caricature, but to his credit, Lazar understands that, in the '60s, the marginal was central, and he brilliantly highlights the fragility of an era when 'everyone under thirty has decided that they're an exception — a musician, a runaway, an artist, a star.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Zachary Lazar graduated from Brown University, has been a Fellow at The Provincetown Fine Arts Works Center, and received the Iowa Writer's Workshop's James Michener/Copernicus Society Prize. His first novel, "Aaron Approximately," was published in 1998.

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

lukas, May 15, 2008 (view all comments by lukas)
Contemporary writers seem to be really into writing fiction about real people ("The Hours" "Libra"). Zachary Lazar's second novel, named after a Rolling Stones song, will be familiar to those who have read Don DeLillo or E.L. Doctrow. Lazar brings together the Stones, gay underground film director Kenneth Anger ("Fireworks" "Lucifer Rising"), and an associate of Manson in a story about the dark energy and forces of the 60s. Again, this will be familiar to those who have read Joan Didion's or Hunter Thompson's dissection of the hippie dream and exploration of the 60s black heart. For fans of the Stones, it's entertaining (esp. the portrait of the drugged out, spectral Brian Jones), but Lazar doesn't do much new with the material or give it any real substance, despite his considerable gifts as a stylist. Makes a good double feature with "Gimme Shelter," which is a much more potent, horrifying expression of what he is trying to accomplish.
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Larry Robinson, April 5, 2008 (view all comments by Larry Robinson)
This excellent book brings together the the Rolling Stones in their early days, the Manson Family, and wanna be star/film maker/Hollywood chronicler Kenneth Anger. The brief, but important coming together of these three groups is, in the end, a story of loss and dashed dreams. if you are interested in the less-than-glamorous side of fame, and you want an idea of what the 60s were like, this book is a great place to start.
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Bridget Colontonio, March 21, 2008 (view all comments by Bridget Colontonio)
Author, Zachary Lazar has done the extraordinary. He has taken three unforgettable icons of the sixties and bonded them together in a haunting, mesmeric novel that will immediately transport you back to that turbulent era. Before you even begin the first page, the author states that this book is a work of fiction. That statement alone is about the only bit of fiction I found in this book, but it is, as the author notes, “products of the imagination”. Perhaps it is because Zachary Lazar brilliantly depicts these people and their lives so accurately and effortlessly that it seems quite factual.
The three icons he fluidly intertwine happen to be, Bobby Beausoleil (the first member of the “Manson Family” to be arrested for the brutal murder of music teacher, Gary Hinman), avant-garde, underground filmmaker, Kenneth Anger, and The Rolling Stones. Namely, Brian Jones, founder of The Rolling Stones, his relationship with his drug-addicted, yet exquisitely beautiful girlfriend, Anita Pallenburg, (who leaves Brian Jones for Keith Richards), and Brian’s untimely, tragic death. The one that seems to bind all three together is Kenneth Anger and his unique brand of films. Some, having starred Bobby Beausoleil, and another having captured the chaotic spectacle of the 1969 free concert at Altamont Speedway, that turned into one of the most violent days in rock history. The author also touches on Kenneth Anger’s fascination with the occult and a fictional book called The Sephiroth, which seems to find it’s way into most of the characters hands at some point and which the author vaguely implies was one of the reasons the sixties ended so tragically.
This book is somewhat a recollection of what made these people who they were. How The Rolling Stones attained their distinctive style, and what pushed Brian over the edge from which he would never recover. And yet other questions yet to be answered, such as: What lured Anger to the occult to begin with? What could lead a common boy like Beausoleil to commit such a heinous murder? This book is a straightforward look into the lives these people may have had, before we turned them into supernatural stars. One thing is for sure, Zachary Lazar, did his homework on these people and created a vibrant tapestry that still manages to weave a certain aura of mysticism that can only be found in the that ethereal age known as The Sixties.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316113090
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Author:
Lazar, Zachary
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Anger, Kenneth
Subject:
Rolling stones
Subject:
Nineteen sixties
Publication Date:
20090210
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.58x6.54x.96 in. .82 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Sway
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316113090 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A s Mick Jagger sang in the 1970 song'Sway,' 'It's just that demon life has got me in its sway.' In Lazar's second novel, he uses a number of real 'demon lives' from the '60s — the Stones and their entourage; Kenneth Anger, the filmmaker who shot Scorpio Rising; and Bobby Beausoleil, a musician and Manson family associate — to channel the era's dread and exhilaration. Lazar shows the decade's descent as the culture of youth (represented most clearly by the Rolling Stones as icons of swinging London) responds to assassinations, the war in Vietnam, the repression in Czechoslovakia and the shedding of navet about drugs. Lazar sketches out his narrative through discrete episodes: Bobby's first criminal job with Manson; Anger's filming of Scorpio Rising; the breakup of Anita Pallenberg and Brian Jones; and a series of Anger's failed film projects. Anger serves as the narrative's lynchpin, and Lazar could have easily cast him as a tawdry caricature, but to his credit, Lazar understands that, in the '60s, the marginal was central, and he brilliantly highlights the fragility of an era when 'everyone under thirty has decided that they're an exception — a musician, a runaway, an artist, a star.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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