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Evening's Empire: A Novel Hardcover – January 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439148457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439148457
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,944,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As in his previous novel, A&R, MTV executive Flanagan presents a life in the music biz, this time in the form of a perhaps too-sprawling history of rock and roll and the men behind the scenes. In 1967, young attorney Jack Flynn ingratiates himself to budding British rock act the Ravons by easing singer Emerson Cutler out of a messy divorce, getting the band out of a disastrous contract and taking the rap for the musicians' attempted drug smuggling, the last of which gets Flynn disbarred. For the next four decades, his fate is intertwined with the band, even as it dissolves at the first whiff of success: Emerson goes solo and becomes a minor sensation in America, while keyboardist Simon's dreary tunes send him touring the Communist bloc. Tragic bass player Charlie fades quickly into obscurity, but nearly strikes it rich through other avenues. Flynn's role as manager is a wonderful balancing act, both for the protagonist and the author, and Flanagan, despite his tendency to leave absolutely nothing out (and, curiously, a missed opportunity with a devilish producer), pulls it all together into a complex, humorous and touching story. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Spanning some 40 years, journalist Flanagan’s third novel is the picaresque, anecdotal story of an English rock band. In London in 1967, his boss tells young lawyer Jack Flynn to photograph the wife of client Emerson Cutler. Seems she is cheating on the serial adulterer rock star. Cutler asks Flynn to work for him, thereby introducing him to the rock lifestyle. Over the years, Flynn, Cutler, and the rest of the band leave London for L.A., tour the world, and generally behave as in prototypical rock-band fashion. Rock insider Flanagan is very familiar with the milieu, knowing how musicians act and talk as well as the kinds of rock-scene denizens he describes—journalists, producers, record executives, and so on—and referencing historical figures and events throughout. Despite the rowdy rock atmosphere, this novel disguised as an old man’s road memoirs has a pensive quality. As Flynn notes, “Thousands of days are lost to us completely. They pass out of our memories like songs half heard on restaurant radios.” It was only rock and roll, but he liked it. --June Sawyers

More About the Author

Bill Flanagan is the author of two previous novels, A&R and NEW BEDLAM, as well as two non-fiction books, WRITTEN IN MY SOUL and U2 AT THE END OF THE WORLD, and a humor collection, LAST OF THE MOE HAIRCUTS. He has written for Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone, Spy, Vanity Fair and many other magazines and newspapers.

Flanagan is also executive vice president and editorial director of MTV Networks for which he created and oversees the series VH1 STORYTELLERS and CMT CROSSROADS. Flanagan has produced, executive produced or co-produced countless hours of television, including specials for NBC and ABC, two concerts from the Clinton White House, and The Concert for New York City after the September 11 attacks. He is ombudsman of the Sundance Channel series SPECTACLE: ELVIS COSTELLO WITH....

Flanagan is an on-air essayist on CBS NEWS SUNDAY MORNING. He has been interviewed on TV by Oprah Winfrey, Diane Sawyer, Conan O'Brien, Jeff Greenfield, Bryant Gumble and Charlie Rose. He has twice guest-hosted for Charlie Rose and hosted PBS's special BOB DYLAN AT NEWPORT. He has also appeared in documentaries by Peter Bogdanovich, Julien Temple, and the BBC, been a guest on Terri Gross's FRESH AIR on NPR, and a talking head on PBS's American Masters.

Flanagan grew up in Rhode Island and graduated from Brown University. He is married to Susan Gallagher. They have three children and live in New York City.

Customer Reviews

It's so well written I would have sworn it could have actually happened and he was simply writing a memoir as fiction.
Bored Easily
Flanagan is a fantastic writer who marries his love of music and excellent writing talent with an inside knowledge of the music business.
Chris MB
It reads like a memoir, which may have been the intention, but there's no real story here, no narrative or plot to speak of.
Wiggly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David S. on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an intelligent and "important" novel that chronicles the life and times of rock music from the 1960s to the present through the amazing experiences of a band manager and, especially, through the superb mind and writing ability of Bill Flanagan. (Congrats to you, Mr. Flanagan!)

If you want a sweeping epic, filled with drugs, sex, rock and roll -- and incredible story-telling -- laced with what certainly sounds like professional insight, then this will be a page-turning delight. The characters seem genuine, their motivations, actions, and reactions believable, the plot moves along rapidly, and you just want it all to continue.

Once in a while I read what I feel is truly a great book -- this one makes my short list. I think you'll feel lucky to have read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chris MB on October 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Evening's Empire is such a wonderfully told, detailed story, you walk away from it's 600+ pages thinking you just followed the history of a real band's rise to fame and fall from glory. Flanagan is a fantastic writer who marries his love of music and excellent writing talent with an inside knowledge of the music business. The result? Fantastic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Indoe on May 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. Bill Flanagan combines the history of the Ravons, a fictional minor British rock group, with actual musicians, names and places to create a compelling saga of the popular music business spanning the last forty-five years. I downloaded the book to my Kindle for a European vacation read and could not put it down. Flanagan gets it so right each and every time. Dirty Water by the Standells? The quintessential Boston anthem! Flanagan also has a wise perspective on the past and slips in surprisingly philosophical comments about life, death, and the pursuit and loss of love.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Sales on February 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I get to read (and write) a lot.

This is the best book for me in several years. I would rank it in the same category as Flicker by Theodore Roszak and Gospel by Wilton Barnhardt. A completely compelling read for people who grew up with Rock 'n' Roll. I grieved mightily at the end of this book. I've read all of Michael Connolly's books, and Flanagan's work here is definitely more of a page turner than anyone of those, save, perhaps, The Poet.

Evening's Empire is the only product outside of specific songs and people that I have ever known Bob Dylan to recommend. If you are at all a member of the 60s, you owe it to yourself to spend at least an hour with this novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David M. Scott on July 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved Evenings Empire. I've been a huge music fan since my first show (Aerosmith / Ted Nugent at MSG in 1976). Everything I enjoyed and experienced from the 70s through punk and new wave, the Dead and jam bands, Grunge, MTV, digital music and more is in the book.

While I remember and can relate to it all, the book allowed me to be an insider to the rise of the Ravons a 1960s British band through their ups and downs over 40 years.

The novel has given me a new appreciation of the music I love in a way that rock star biographies haven't been able to match.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adam Pawlowski on April 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Couldn't put this down. Bill Flanagan does a great job of weaving this fictional band into the tapestry and folklore of rock'n'roll. I'm not going to pretend that it's the best novel ever written, but it's certainly a very entertaining read, with many dead-on observations about music business, pop culture, and stardom in general. And it's not strictly for music geeks, either: my wife laughed out loud at several passages I read to her. (The video shoot involving a talking "dummy" is priceless.) By the end of the book, you might fool yourself into believing that the Ravons were a real band. I certainly wouldn't mind hearing Mary vs. Mary or The Voodoo Doll. I can almost imagine what these songs sound like...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this a good read saga of rock and roll but the story was too long I have no idea what I would cut out. But I got bored several times and it too me time to 're engage. I am sure rock and roll buffs of music and the business would love this novel. I read the book in one day for my book group ,I would not advise this. Good history.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Evening's Empire is a novel told in the form of a memoir. A memoir of an aging music manager/promoter/hanger on. In the mid-1960s, Jack Flynn was a young solicitor (attorney) who somehow winds up working for the latest British band, the fictional Ravons. He leaves his law practice to manage them--and that is the tale of Evening's Empire. The band breaks up, but Flynn stays in the business and with the members of the band, through the age MTV, CDs, digital sales, Live Aid, Live 8 and so forth. Bill Flanagan, the author, is in the record industry and he clearly knows much about it. He is an adequate writer, but not a very good novelist. The characters, who are with us for over 600 pages, are not very well-developed. There is not story line, no overriding arc, just a series of episodes, some tied together, some not, like a memoir. The problem is, Evening's Empire isn't a memoir and it is hard to care for Jack Flynn all that much. That being said, it is certainly well-written (if not well crafted). The dialogue is believable and even at 600+ pages, the novel is a quick read. It is a fairly quick read that long-time music fans will probably get a slight kick out of reading.
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