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Songs for the New Depression Paperback – October 25, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Circumspect Press (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983983704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983983705
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,541,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kergan Edwards-Stout has crafted a work of fiction reminiscent of some classic tales in Songs for the New Depression.  Even better, Edwards-Stout's debut boasts the kind of dark humor that made Augusten Burroughs a household name." - Advocate.com

"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

From the Author

I hope you enjoy my novel, Songs for the New Depression.  It is loosely inspired by my partner Shane Sawick, who died in 1995. While entirely fictional, the lead character of Gabriel shares certain sensibilities with Shane, and is my way of honoring him and all lost to AIDS, far too soon.

More About the Author

Kergan Edwards-Stout is an award-winning author, whose debut novel, Songs for the New Depression, won the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the LGBTQ category, was shortlisted for the Independent Literary Awards, and placed on four "Best Books of 2012" lists. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including Huffington Post, Bilerico Project, LGBTQ Nation, and American Short Fiction. He has been honored by the Human Rights Campaign as a "2011 Father of the Year", and blogs regularly at http://kerganedwards-stout.com. His new holiday short story collection, Gifts Not Yet Given, was released in 2013. Currently, he is at work on a memoir, Never Turn Your Back on the Tide.

Customer Reviews

The story line is interesting, told in reverse order, with surprises up to the end.
ChapmanRev
Kergan Edwards-Stout's first novel, "Songs for the New Depression" is the kind of book we need more of in the world of modern gay literature.
Ulysses Dietz
Author Kergan Edwards-Stout has crafted a story that is beautiful, tragic, and consuming.
Carey Parrish

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ulysses Dietz on January 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kergan Edwards-Stout's first novel, "Songs for the New Depression" is the kind of book we need more of in the world of modern gay literature. For a man of my generation, reading about AIDS is difficult, because we lived through the epidemic as it first began to emerge on our collective radar, before we understood the horrific toll it would take on our lives and our community. There were a lot of these books in the 1990s, but we have begun to turn away from those dark topics in our literature, and I'm pretty sure that's not a good thing. Edwards-Stout's book seems to affirm my doubt. It is a beautiful book, and, I think, an important one.

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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert R. Noe on November 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
From the moment you look at the cover, you may sense you're in for a journey. And a hell of a ride is what you get. This 3-part narrative told in reverse order traces the final days of Gabriel Travers as he confronts not only his impending AIDS-related death, but the life that brought him to this point. We travel back to Gabe's high school years where a traumatic event ultimately shapes much of the man he is to become--for better or worse. Author Edwards-Stout has fashioned a cynical and sarcastic, love-him, hate-him, yet redeemable character that would give Augusten Burroughs a run for his money. While this debut novel will undoubtedly appeal to gay audiences, it would be fair to say that there are universal and relevant themes for all explored in Songs for the New Depression... We all struggle. We all seek a greater understanding of things we don't understand. And many of us seek some sort of redemption. While there are many ideas explored here, some are timeless, others are the makings of the headlines of our contemporary culture--a seemingly never-ending battle for GLBT affirmation, understanding and compassion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gregory G. Allen on December 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an incredible World AIDS Day for me as I finished Kergan Edwards-Stout's moving debut novel that tackled the AIDS epidemic head-on by giving his readers a person to attach to this disease. Where Edwards-Stout excels so brilliantly is not turning his protagonist into a martyr. He has written a complex, flawed man (with a book peppered with enough humor to cut through the inevitable) that readers can identify with and not place on a pedestal to simply admire and revere. The book is told in such a unique way as we travel through points in Gabriel Travers' life to see crucial defining moments. It tackles themes of love, searching for acceptance, and the all important question of why gay men can be so `cutting' and `nasty' as they respond to people and situations. I found myself comparing each of Gabe's decades to my own life and questioning choices I have made - and isn't that what a good book should do? Songs for the New Depression will stay in your mind after you close the page the same way the Divine Miss M's music lingers in your ears when the record stops playing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob Lind on November 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Gabe Travers is a gay man approaching his 40th birthday, which he knows he is unlikely to reach because he has exhausted the available HIV medications without success. With the inevitable passage of time a constant reminder of his situation, Gabe barely copes with his job with a Los Angeles AIDS service non-profit, through which he met his (now ex) boyfriend Jon, whom Gabe realizes he drove away with his bitter attitude, the same as his longtime friend Claire.

"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.
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