Synopses & Reviews
Peter Guralnick's first and only novel to date--a book that unforgettably evokes the life and times of a legendary bluesman--is restored to print in this "year of the blues." The Screamin' Nighthawk is on the road for what may be the last time. The legedary bluesman, traveling with two fellow septuagenarians, is playing college gyms in the Midwest when a traffic accident aborts the tour and propels Hawk on an unexpected journey--a journey that takes him (and us) to bars and theaters and honky-tonks and hideaways stretching all the way from Indianapolis to East St. Louis to Yula, Mississiippi, where Hawk's life and career began.
The Year of the Blues
reaches fever pitch in fall 2003 with the theatrical release (and airing on PBS) of seven documentary films, each by a noted feature director (Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Charles Burnett, Mike Figgis, and Clint Eastwood among them) and the release on CD of several major new blues compilations.
Peter Guralnick, celebrated for his bestselling two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, is a master of narrative who knows the world of American roots music better than any other writer.
Nighthawk Blues was first published in hardcover in 1980 (Seaview Books) and subsequently in paperback (Thunder's Mouth Press). Both editions have long been unavailable.
Peter Guralnick--in this, his only novel to date--draws on his rich storytelling skills and his intimate knowledge of music to create an an unforgettable character, and to give us an "engrossing, evocative" (Washington Post) look at the blues life.
The Screamin' Nighthawk is a legendary bluesman, an uncompromising musician, and a cantankerous old man awash in memories of road trips and one-night stands, recording sessions and barroom escapades, love affairs and driven, inspired, down-home music making. As Hawk travels back down Highway 61 to Yola, Mississippi, for what may be his last gig, the novel immerses us in the world of Hawk, his friends and family, the nursemaid manager he craftily evades, and the beautiful young blues singer who alone can crack Hawk's crusty exterior.