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Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »
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The Song Is You

by

The Song Is You Cover

 

Staff Pick

Arthur Phillips's fourth novel is a beautiful, intelligent meditation on music, loss, and intimacy, a story of star-crossed not-quite-lovers who radically affect each other's lives. The Song Is You is Phillips's best book yet, as smart and intricate as Prague, but more generous and poignant.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"Is that the author you hear chortling with pleasure[?]....Phillips' sparkling prose makes for a seriously fun read." Heller McAlpin, San Francisco Chronicle (read the entire San Francisco Chronicle review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Julian Donahue is in love with his iPod.

Each song that shuffles through that greatest of all human inventions triggers a memory. There are songs for the girls from when he was single; there's the one for the day he met his wife-to-be, and another for the day his son was born. But when his family falls apart, even music loses its hold on him, and he has nothing.

Until one snowy night in Brooklyn, when his life's soundtrack — and life itself — starts to play again. He stumbles into a bar and sees Cait O'Dwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer, performing with her band, and a strange and unlikely love affair is ignited.

Over the next few months, Julian and Cait's passion for music and each other is played out, though they never meet. In cryptic emails, text messages, cell-phone videos, and lyrics posted on Cait's website, they find something in their bizarre friendship that they cannot find anywhere else. Cait's star is on the rise, and Julian gently guides her along her path to fame — but always from a distance — and she responds to the one voice who understands her, more than a fan but still less than a lover.

As their feelings grow more feverish, keeping a safe distance becomes impossible. What follows is a love story and a uniquely heartbreaking dark comedy about obsession and loss.

Called "one of the best writers in America" by the Washington Post, the bestselling author of Prague delivers his finest work yet in The Song Is You. It is a closely observed tale of love in the digital age that blurs the line between the longing for intimacy and the longing for oblivion.

Review:

Life gets rough and we turn to our own private music like sinners to deliverance. It's a salve akin to prayer, a foil against the dust of life, a near perfect antidote for spiritual hunger. Or so, at least, it seems to Julian Donahue, a successful Manhattan adman, ex-husband, ex-father and baleful hero of Arthur Phillips' incandescent new novel, who numbs his existential pain with transporting shots... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[T]he novel's clashing harmonies seduce and fascinate. And Phillips still looks like the best American novelist to have emerged during the present decade." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"The Song Is You is smaller, more focused and more ­character-driven than Phillips's earlier books, and it's not only a welcome new direction, but also a novel impossible to put down." Kate Christensen, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Phillips...hits a pitch-perfect note in this heartbreakingly lyrical novel....Phillips both the tenor of our times and the fragility of contemporary connections." Booklist

Review:

"Music nerds who also happen to read fiction will be his most sympathetic audience, yet the author's many fans will also be curious about this noble experiment." Library Journal

Synopsis:

The bestselling author of Prague delivers a love story and a uniquely heartbreaking dark comedy about obsession and loss. It is a closely observed tale of love in the digital age that blurs the line between the longing for intimacy and the longing for oblivion.

Synopsis:

Julian Donahue is in love with his iPod.

Each song that shuffles through “that greatest of all human inventions” triggers a memory. There are songs for the girls from when he was single; theres the one for the day he met his wife-to-be, and another for the day his son was born. But when his family falls apart, even music loses its hold on him, and he has nothing.

Until one snowy night in Brooklyn, when his lifes soundtrack-and life itself-starts to play again. He stumbles into a bar and sees Cait ODwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer, performing with her band, and a strange and unlikely love affair is ignited.

Over the next few months, Julian and Caits passion for music and each other is played out, though they never meet. In cryptic emails, text messages, cell-phone videos, and lyrics posted on Caits website, they find something in their bizarre friendship that they cannot find anywhere else. Caits star is on the rise, and Julian gently guides her along her path to fame-but always from a distance-and she responds to the one voice who understands her, more than a fan but still less than a lover.

As their feelings grow more feverish, keeping a safe distance becomes impossible. What follows is a love story and a uniquely heartbreaking dark comedy about obsession and loss.

Called “one of the best writers in America” by The Washington Post, the bestselling author of Prague delivers his finest work yet in The Song Is You. It is a closely observed tale of love in the digital age that blurs the line between the longing for intimacy and the longing for oblivion.

About the Author

Arthur Phillips is the internationally bestselling author of Angelica, The Egyptologist, and Prague, which was a New York Times Notable Book and winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. He lives in New York with his wife and two sons.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

JILL HINCKLEY, January 12, 2010 (view all comments by JILL HINCKLEY)
Nothing much happens in this book. Before the story opens, the hero has separated from his wife, following the death of his infant son. Living on his own, he goes out one night to buy toiler paper and he stops into a bar to use their restroom. There he hears a young Irish singer in whom he gradually becomes interested, both musically and emotionally. Over the course of a year, interest gradually grows into mutual fascination, though the two never meet. Eventually they see the error of their ways. End of story.

The suspense is riveting! Phillips writes with such grace and power, his characters are so unusual and complex -- and the music references (and inventions) are woven so aptly and elegantly into the story -- that it becomes the proverbial can't-put-it-down page turner, as the reader waits with bated breath to see what the characters will do next.

Set to the soundtrack of the scrambled tunes in the heros' iPod, driven by blogs and tweets, fluid in time and space, this is the first indisputably 21st century novel I have read this century, which makes it a good choice for the Puddly.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
KellyT, May 25, 2009 (view all comments by KellyT)
Guy meets girl, guy stalks girl, girl likes it. This novel -- about a Manhattan director of television advertisements and the on-the-verge singer to whom he anonymously passes advice -- isn't just about love and deciding the course of destiny for ourselves. It's the perfect book for any music-obsessed person who believes life needs just the right soundtrack. The director's estranged wife isn't very well drawn, and the writing can be a bit show-offish at times, but this is a very good book about the iPod generation, grown and growing up.
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(5 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Erica Horne, April 15, 2009 (view all comments by Erica Horne)
Julian's marriage has fallen apart after the death of his 2-year-old son. At a Brooklyn bar, he happens to hear a young Irish singer named Cait O'Dwyer, sing.
Julian becomes attracted and obsessed by Cait and Cait is as affected by him as he is by her. They need each other and fall in love without meeting face to face.
This is a great unconventional story, and Julian must chose between his marriage and Cait.
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(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400066469
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Phillips, Arthur
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Women singers
Subject:
Inspiration
Subject:
General
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090407
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.30x6.00x1.10 in. 1.00 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » General

The Song Is You Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Random House - English 9781400066469 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Arthur Phillips's fourth novel is a beautiful, intelligent meditation on music, loss, and intimacy, a story of star-crossed not-quite-lovers who radically affect each other's lives. The Song Is You is Phillips's best book yet, as smart and intricate as Prague, but more generous and poignant.

"Review A Day" by , "Is that the author you hear chortling with pleasure[?]....Phillips' sparkling prose makes for a seriously fun read." (read the entire San Francisco Chronicle review)
"Review" by , "[T]he novel's clashing harmonies seduce and fascinate. And Phillips still looks like the best American novelist to have emerged during the present decade."
"Review" by , "The Song Is You is smaller, more focused and more ­character-driven than Phillips's earlier books, and it's not only a welcome new direction, but also a novel impossible to put down."
"Review" by , "Phillips...hits a pitch-perfect note in this heartbreakingly lyrical novel....Phillips both the tenor of our times and the fragility of contemporary connections."
"Review" by , "Music nerds who also happen to read fiction will be his most sympathetic audience, yet the author's many fans will also be curious about this noble experiment."
"Synopsis" by , The bestselling author of Prague delivers a love story and a uniquely heartbreaking dark comedy about obsession and loss. It is a closely observed tale of love in the digital age that blurs the line between the longing for intimacy and the longing for oblivion.
"Synopsis" by , Julian Donahue is in love with his iPod.

Each song that shuffles through “that greatest of all human inventions” triggers a memory. There are songs for the girls from when he was single; theres the one for the day he met his wife-to-be, and another for the day his son was born. But when his family falls apart, even music loses its hold on him, and he has nothing.

Until one snowy night in Brooklyn, when his lifes soundtrack-and life itself-starts to play again. He stumbles into a bar and sees Cait ODwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer, performing with her band, and a strange and unlikely love affair is ignited.

Over the next few months, Julian and Caits passion for music and each other is played out, though they never meet. In cryptic emails, text messages, cell-phone videos, and lyrics posted on Caits website, they find something in their bizarre friendship that they cannot find anywhere else. Caits star is on the rise, and Julian gently guides her along her path to fame-but always from a distance-and she responds to the one voice who understands her, more than a fan but still less than a lover.

As their feelings grow more feverish, keeping a safe distance becomes impossible. What follows is a love story and a uniquely heartbreaking dark comedy about obsession and loss.

Called “one of the best writers in America” by The Washington Post, the bestselling author of Prague delivers his finest work yet in The Song Is You. It is a closely observed tale of love in the digital age that blurs the line between the longing for intimacy and the longing for oblivion.

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