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Songs for the New Depression Paperback – October 25, 2011
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"Kergan Edwards-Stout infuses reality and hopefulness into a bittersweet story about compassion and personal growth. A distinctively entertaining novel written with moxie and bolstered by pitch-perfect perspectives." Kirkus Reviews
"Songs for the New Depression is a thoughtful read that should speak to many readers." - Midwest Book Review
"Simply stunning!" Dana Miller, Frontiers Magazine/Los Angeles
"Many tout this book as an important piece of fiction that should be read by all because of it's portrayal of AIDS. I'll give them that. I would add that it's not only an important piece of fiction because of the message, but it's a great piece of fiction writing regardless of the message." LGBT Book Review Blog
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Top Customer Reviews
Edwards-Stout is a gifted writer; the unusual reverse-linear structure of the book and the author's ability to use words is central to the pleasure of reading what is a sometimes harrowing, sometimes merely heartbreaking story. But the great surprise, and perhaps the author's greatest gift to the reader, is the laugh-out loud humor, most of which is in the voice of the central protagonist, Gabriel. Gabe is a deeply flawed person; but the reader has no problem seeing the potential there. This is a character you can imagine having as your difficult best friend - someone you love, but can never quite reach.
Edwards-Stout draws from personal experience here, and thus he presents us with a story that is both heartfelt and authentic. It may be a work of fiction, but it is also a work of great truth; emotionally, historically, and psychologically. The NY Times ought to be reviewing "Songs for the New Depression," not the likes of me.
"Songs for the New Depression" (The title comes from a Bette Midler album, which was one of Gabe's favorites) is one of the more unique novels I have read in some time, in that the story is told in reverse chronological order. The book is in three parts, with the first an introduction to Gabe in his alternately bitchy and introspective final days. The second goes back almost ten years, with a promiscuous 20-something Gabe enjoying the buffet of sexual variety L.A. offered in the 80's, and continued to engage in such risky behavior even after AIDS became a known reality. Finally, the third part of the book goes back to Gabe's high school days in the mid 70's, a time when his crush on a boy (one that would last into adulthood) was overshadowed, and perhaps doomed, by constant homophobic bullying, including a physical assault that devastated his self-esteem.
While featuring engaging characters, this emotionally-riveting novel isn't easy to read, between the reverse time line (which likely adds to the overall impact of the book) and the details of what the younger Gabe had to endure. Still, it is well-written and an important story to tell, in reminding us of the possible lifetime effect of being bullied as a gay teen. Five stars out of five.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can only assume that the handful of reviewers that down this book just don't get it. This novel is so good, on so many levels, that it's impossible to fully describe in a short... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Scott
An intense and touching page-turner. Highly recommended for a general audience as well as a gay one. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sometime Critic
What a fun read by an author who really can paint a brilliant picture of such a variety of emotions. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Garrett Miller
Three short stories/ novellas that become a wonderfully unified novel about Gabe’s life told in different times and places. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Julia Walter
Songs for the New Depression is an excellent read.
In it, Edwards-Stout takes us on a journey (in reverse chronological order) of a boy that lost his innocence when... Read more
Songs for the New Depression is a mixed bag of mostly tortured memories that the author wrote to honor a friend who died in the 90s. Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by IsolaBlue
This is another novel that has filled me with mixed reactions. I found I really enjoyed the romance angle of the story, and yet at the same time, I found myself wondering why the... Read morePublished on December 14, 2013 by T. Young
Just by reading the back cover alone, I thought this would be an interesting and moving book to read. It wasn't what I expected. Read morePublished on September 24, 2013 by Boogie