Customer Reviews: Revival: A Folk Music Novel
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on November 14, 2011
Scott Alarik has written a true to life novel that shows so many facets of the folk music scene. His gift for prose, love of the music and detailed understanding of the underpinnings of a grassroots world that sometimes creates large careers serves the music and novel well. Scott manages to weave the folkscene of the past into today's ever-changing music world-from lp's to downloads, from major newspapers helping spread the good word of good music to the near disappearance of print media. Add a love story, songs that help tell the story and some very interesting twists at the end and there's a great novel herein. It's all done with class, respect, realism and a dose of the idealism that every folk musician needs.
If you like a good story, read this book. If you like folk music, read this book, if you dabbled a bit in performing, or are a road warrior-you're gonna like this book. Spread the word.
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on July 31, 2012
Scott Alarick's "Revival" touched deeply into my own experience as a singer-songwriter struggling to be true to myself in a music industry that tends to grind us under it's boot-heels. I often found myself having to set the book down and reflect on events in my own 35 years of being a singer-songwriter that threatened to crush me. And the coming to terms with those events that ultimately enabled me to heal my life and continue to write from a deeper and healthier place...

His two main characters represent the passion and commitment that so many of us have to write our songs and express our deepest longings and reflections in spite of whether or not any one is listening or caring about the tunes. What is so helpful about Scott's take on this world is that it affirms that there are people who DO care deeply about this music: The audience. We might as well forget about the "Record Industry." And that's a good thing.

Scott's characters, Nathan and Kit, stride on into their own forms of musical fulfillment and empowered self expression with love and willingness to learn.

I can't recommend this book enough to anyone who writes songs or knows and loves a songwriter or folk musician.

I am deeply grateful that somebody has captured this.
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on September 17, 2011
The characters in this book are extremely well drawn. You won't forget them. The link between traditional and contemporary folk music is skilfully forged. The passages on depression ring true. Throughout the book the author's natural humor and wit sparkle and shine. A great read for folkies and civilians alike.
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on August 14, 2013
This book was just wonderful from beginning to end. First off, the writing was beautiful. The way Mr. Alarik painted every scene with words was very well done. Even though I have never visited those areas of Boston I was able to picture them perfectly in my head. The characters were teffific. They were very well developed and the main character's stream of consciousness and the changes he went through were beautifully represented. I also very much enjoyed the facts and history of folk music, it added an extra layer to this story that was certainly welcome. The ending just blew me away. I've never had so many mixed emotions about the end of a story. But after much reflection I truely felt it was the only way that story could have ended. If you have any interest in folk music, or just like stories about relationships and positive personal growth then this book is for you.
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VINE VOICEon March 23, 2016
Mr. Alarik has written a terrific and surprisingly personal novel about folk musicians and the community they live and work in. His characters are intricately drawn and beautiful, and his writing really evokes the Boston/Cambridge setting.
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on February 26, 2012
I laughed, cried and smiled while reading this book. I guess that means it felt real to me. I've never performed on a stage, but the jitters I've felt in work and personal situations sure matched up with the stage fright that the up and coming musician in Revival has to overcome. In the context of the Boston folk music scene, this book brings to life the sense of exhilaration from success, agony over mistakes, uncertainty, awkwardness, depression, interpersonal conflict and love. For me, these all feel authentic at a level not often achieved. In some cases we get a just a glimpse, in others a more in-depth development, but all with a sensitivity that I found refreshing. I don't think you need to be familiar with the folk music scene, or to even like folk music, to like this book. The themes are far more universal and you won't be lost in the music framework. That said, I have had the chance to get to know several folk musicians on a personal level, and the aspects of the folk music lifestyle and folk music business developed in Revival matched up with things I've been told and observed. This book shouldn't be viewed as a historical novel or an authoritative treatise on what it's like to be a folk singer, but if you're looking to gain insight into that world or to just read a good story about personal challenge, growth (and, of course, love), I recommend this book.
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on January 24, 2012
Scott Alarik's "Revival" is a delightful read, especially for musicians! The story, the nuances, the wisdom, the information, the familiar characters and places, the humor, all pulled together with such love and honesty. It hit home for me at so many levels. Honestly, I could not wait each day to go back and read some more along with my morning coffee.
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on August 3, 2012
For anyone who has aspired to be a working musician, is one currently, or has spent any time supporting and listening to independent music this book will hit home. Alarik weaves a beautiful story that rings with the truth that can be possessed only by someone who has lived it and steeped in all aspects of the folk community.

I grew up going to folk festivals and, inspired by my favorite folk/rock groups, started playing and writing my own music at a young age. That presence of music and passion to create really shaped who I am as a person. After many years of writing and playing, but never being able to gain traction, I felt very discouraged and stepped back from music. I wasn't even playing for my own enjoyment.

Being able to open "Revival" and see my own story and struggles echoed by the characters was such a comfort and inspiration. Seeing that maybe the doubt I felt is something that all artists feel and travel through was so validating, it put my own feelings in perspective and took some of the weight off my shoulders. As I got further into the story and felt Nathan and Kit's excitement over the songwriting process, I was itching to pick up my guitar. Scott Alarik's ability to capture that kind of infectious creative excitement on the page is a wonder, and I am very grateful that he was able to do so!

"Revival" reads like your favorite mixed tape, bringing up the sharp nostalgia that only a beloved song can. Press play. You'll be glad you did.
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on February 9, 2012
At first, I was leery of Scott Alarik's "Revival," which I received as a Christmas present, perhaps because I've read few fictional forays into the world of folk music. James Michener's treatment of the folkies who worshipped Child songs in his novel "The Drifters" struck me as a misguided outsider's view. "Revival" is focused on Nathan Warren's rather limited realm of Harvard Square and open mics. Nathan is an old (or, rather, middle-aged) folky who almost struck it big but didn't, and who has led a rather reclusive life since divorcing his folky wife, who was far more successful than he in their musical world. Nathan is, however, as warm-hearted a folky as anyone could wish for. One night he meets Kit Warren, a talented young woman with a severe case of stage fright. Of course, they fall in love, and, of course, he leads her out of his shell, doing everything he can to try to help her flourish as a folky. I love these characters and their dilemmas, although I found the narrative a bit too inclined toward exposition for my tastes. When Alarik actually dramatizes scenes, the writing is much stronger.

Any reader seeking insights into the "real world" of folk music might be disappointed. Alarik does little folky name-dropping. The real focus here is the characters he created. The minor characters serve the story line well, though they might have been developed a bit more fully so that they seemed less two-dimensional.

Alarik's real strength is in creating situations that plague the two principals. Nothing comes easy for them, even (or especially) when it seems as if things are about to go perfectly. Their pitfalls are primarily internal--Nathan and Kit are introspective and sensitive, sometimes almost excruciatingly so. We want terrific things for them, but their pasts and their complexities make such things seem like carrots on sticks dangling just beyond their reach.

To me, the key to my positive reaction to this book is this: I kept finding myself wanting to be Nathan.
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on January 21, 2013
This is the author's first novel and it shows. The writing is a little clumsy, especially in the first half of the book. That being said, I still enjoyed reading about the open mic nights, coffeehouse shows, and songwriting sessions. The author definitely has lived most of what is portrayed in the book. As other reviewers have noted, it is hard to tell when Nathan, the main character, was an up-and-coming star. The timeline I finally settled on in my mind is that he started in the mid-to-late eighties, making him somewhere between 45 and 50. Overall, I give it 3.5 stars ... if you're a folk music fan, round it up and consider it a 4 stars.
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