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Goodnight Steve McQueen: A Novel Paperback – March 15, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (March 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006072563X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060725631
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,119,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this larkish first novel by former British pop star Wener, her second book to be published in the U.S. (after The Perfect Play, 2004), the author trains her razor-sharp wit on the transition between postadolescent drifting and adulthood. Inveterate loser Danny—formerly Steve—McQueen plays guitar in the rock 'n' roll outfit Dakota; though the band's big break has always been just around the corner, this time they may stumble upon fame. But Danny's girlfriend, Alison, has professional aspirations and isn't sure she can stay with a man who works in a video store in order to free up time for fruitless dream chasing. She once wanted to be Agatha Christie, but she traded in childhood fantasies for good old adult stability, and she thinks it's time Danny did, too. As the pair drift apart, she gives him six months to break into the music business before giving it up altogether, if he wants her in his life. The story doesn't range far from the High Fidelity template, but Wener paints a smart, funny picture of a man kicking and screaming his way into adulthood. Moreover, Wener crafts her tale of a guitar-playing Peter Pan with a kind eye that allows readers to see themselves in Danny, even as she takes an honest look at his self-absorption, irresponsibility and fears of growing old.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Danny McQueen and his girlfriend, Alison, are about to go through their quarter-life crisis in their own ways–she by taking a job with more responsibility in Belgium, he by giving his dream of rock stardom one last, aggressive push. After some trickery that gets his band, Dakota, a slot as an opener for the next big thing, it looks like Danny might actually be on the verge of the success that has so far eluded him, but now he has to decide if it's what he wants after all. Wener spent some time as a pop singer herself, and her knowledge of a small-time touring circuit is spot-on. The situation and resolution that Danny and his band go through are fraught with lucky coincidences, but it's all in the spirit of a tale with a happy ending. Some references are slightly dated (the characters play the video game FIFA '98 when FIFA '05 is actually on the shelves now), but none are too outrageous. The language is very British, but fans of Nick Hornby and Helen Fielding should feel right at home. In fact, the story has a sense of Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicolson and her Sex God, 10 years later.–Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Wener has another book coming out this summer, which I intend to read.
It was charming, surprising, relatable, and just a good fun read... which is pretty much what I want these days!
Amazon Customer
Wener does a great job of creating believable, complex characters and a nicely quirky setting in downscale London.
Dangle's girl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ratmammy VINE VOICE on March 19, 2005
Format: Paperback

January 25, 2005

Danny (Steve) McQueen is dreaming of becoming a big music super star in GOOD NIGHT STEVE MCQUEEN, the debut novel by Louise Wener. Danny (as he prefers to be called) is almost 30 and is still working part time at the local video store while he tries to make a go at it in the world of music. His bandmates Vince and Matty are also dreaming of that day when the three of them, as the band DAKOTA, hit it big and make their way to the Top of the Pops.

Danny's girlfriend, Alison, loves him but she's tired of having to support the both of them. She wishes that he would realize that this dream of his is just that, a childish dream, and that he'll never make it big. She gives him an ultimatum, to either make a big effort to score big, or quit music altogether and get a "real" job. She gives him six months to shape up. Danny takes her threat to heart and tells Vince and Matty that they have six months to change their careers for the better, and soon the three of them are plotting and planning their way to the top.

In the mean time, Danny is also working in a "specialty" video store owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kostas, chatting it up with the elderly Sheila, their most loyal customer. Sheila, as well as the other characters in this book, is such a hoot. She's in her 80s, but just loves those martial arts movies. If he's not working, Danny is hanging out with Matty and Vince, either rehearsing or getting drunk. In between the main story line, we learn about Danny's "pathetic" life, told with a humorous twist, as he narrates the story of his start in life (he actually believed his father WAS Steve McQueen), his discovery of music, and how he met the love of his life (Alison).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By doctor_beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was quite reminiscent of High Fidelity: a 20s-something music fan avoids getting a "real" job by working in a video store, resulting in a lack of progress in both his life in general and his relationship with his girlfriend in particular. The main character in question, Steve McQueen--or Danny, as he's more commonly known--is not always likeable, yet you can't help but root for him when he tries to give his nearly-dead music career one last shot. Although I felt frustrated with Danny at times, I enjoyed many of the other characters, including wise Vince, gullible Matty, quirky Kostas, and of course lovable Sheila. In addition, there were definitely some laugh-out-loud moments throughout, and thus I was thoroughly entertained. I would recommend this book, especially to anyone who has ever taken a risk to make their "dream" job a reality.
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Format: Paperback
Goodnight Steve McQueen is a 2002 novel by British author Louise Wener and it can be described in one word: fabulous. Fans of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity rejoice, this novel, while similar, is every bit as humorous, heartfelt, and fun to read as Hornby's 1995 cult classic.
Wener- stunningly mature with her first novel after fronting British pop band Sleeper in the mid-1990s- uses dry humor like a lethal weapon in this novel about relationships, growing up, and never giving up on our dreams.
The protagonist is Steve "Danny" McQueen, a twenty-nine year old video store clerk with rock star aspirations that he's been harboring since puberty. The events that unfold in the novel are his last effort at stardom, and a thinly veiled message that all men have to grow up sometime.
The story is told through the eyes of Danny, in a way that only a man could tell it. Of course, Wener is a not a man and this further highlights her burgeoning talent. Apart from a sarcastic tone that will induce laughter several times, the real heart of the novel is in the eccentric, yet believable, minor characters. There is Danny's video store boss Kostas, a band mate's art-school girlfriend with a crush, and an older woman with an obsession for kung-fu movies. Throughout the novel Danny is forced to deal with an absent girlfriend, a group of fledgling band mates, and a bad haircut among other things. Danny's problems might seem trivial to some readers, but most will relate to the everyday issues that Danny, and most people everywhere, have to deal with.
Though the heart of the story comes from the supporting cast, the brains are all Danny. Wener does an excellent job of portraying a flawed, yet ultimately good hero in Danny, with his searing one-liners and a few colossal mistakes that he makes.
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no one was a bigger sleeper fan than i, so i was quite surprised (and curious) to discover louis wener had written not one, but two novels.

perhaps comparisons to nick hornby are a bit unfair, but they aren't without warrant. both hornby and wener know more than their fair share about music and the music industry. the only difference, of course, is that wener was actually *in* the music industry, while hornby is but an observer (and a very astute one at that).

what wener does well is capture what it's like to live for the dream. danny mcqueen, the erstwhile steve mcqueen, and his pals have slogged it out for ten years trying to make it big in the music industry, with only infrequent and minor success. it's as though they are little boys terrified of making the leap to adulthood and living an 'adult' life. suprisingly, wener does write the novel from the male perspective and while sometimes her observations are little off the mark (at least in my opinion), she by and captures what it's like to be a nearly-thirty-something male. the relationships between the characters, particularly between danny and his best mates Vince and Matty, and between danny and allison are believable and for the most part well-drawn. as a huge music fan, i also giggle at references to kevin rowland, my bloody valentine, the smiths, frank black, and grandaddy. what i also admired about the novel is that the female characters are, by and large, the least likeable. i admire that because wener's playing against type, being a female author. it would have been much easier, i assume, to glamorize the women and villefy the men. thankfully, the opposite is true.

where the novel suffers, in my opinion, is that it's fairly exclusive to its primary audience.
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