Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Greatest Hits: From the bestselling author of The Versions of Us Hardcover – June 15, 2017
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Greatest Hits is the second novel by freelance arts journalist, features writer, theatre critic and author, Laura Barnett. It’s 2015, and singer-songwriter, Cass Wheeler is hesitant as she sits in the listening room of her home recording studio, about to spend the day listening to the sixteen tracks that will make up her new album, Greatest Hits: “The songs that tracked the arc of a lifetime.” She’s hesitant because the songs to which she will listen are, all but a few, chosen from her previous work. They are guaranteed to stir up memories of the milestones in her life; some happy, others less so, and some, decidedly traumatic, and she wonders if she will be able to cope.
Despite assurances from those around her, the prospect of re-entering the music scene after a ten-year hiatus also causes some anxiety. How will her choices, and her new works, be received by those attending the launch party this evening? And underlying it all, Cass wonders if her recent harsh words have put an end to a fledgling relationship she now very much wishes to develop.
The format Barnett has used is clever: after the initial introduction in the present day, each chapter is titled as an album track and begins with evocative song lyrics and their recording details, before recounting the events of Cass’s life to which the song relates. This is then followed by Cass’s present day thoughts and activities. In the latter, references are made to certain important incidents, and these are gradually revealed. In this way, Cass’s early years, her first interest in music, her significant relationships, her career, her family, her successes and her tragedies, and her ten-year silence are all described. Cass Wheeler’s Discography at the end is a lovely final touch.
Barnett’s plot is wholly believable. She easily captures her setting and readers of a certain vintage may experience some nostalgia. Her characters are well-formed and realistically flawed: even those who deeply disappoint arouse some empathy. Barnett also treats the reader to some beautiful descriptive prose: “She closes her eyes; she can feel the answer lurking in a distant, shadowed corner of her mind. That’s how it is, so often, now: the clear Technicolor of memory fading to sepia, recollection a deliberate act. An act of deliberation.” and “’Francis is in pieces.’ Cass pictures her father, then, as a china figurine, lying smashed on the carpet in the front room.” are examples.
“And then she had been left alone with that silence, and she had understood, for the first time, that it wasn’t really silence, but its own creeping layered symphony of sound.”
Readers who enjoyed “The Versions of Us” will not be disappointed in this latest offering from Laura Barnett. A tender and thoughtful read.
Greatest Hits is an immersive reading experience, which takes us through the life of fictional singer Cassie Wheeler. A famed star, whose music and personal life had been at the forefront of the media for years before she disappeared from view, everyone is wanting to know when her next album will be released. As a middle-aged Cassie returns to her studio for the first time in years, she listens to and chooses the songs that best chronicle her life’s road as she takes herself and the reader down memory lane.
Laura Barnett writes with such an understanding of human emotion that in the space of 400+ pages, as a reader you feel as though you too have experienced all that Cassie has. She no longer becomes a character that you are reading about, but another part of you that you never knew you had. Throughout Cassie’s life, through her loves, losses, successes and failures, all are expressed through Barnett’s powerful prose, and the meaningful lyrics of the songs that Cassie chooses as those that have shaped the person she is.
Greatest Hits is a reading experience that melds music and literature in a way that few people have achieved before. With lyrics by both Barnett and singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams, readers can also hear the sixteen of Cassie’s records in song on Williams’ album Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits.
Music is so powerful and so evocative – it’s very clever to write the story of your life through songs – and the author is working with a real life musician to record them as they appear in the book lyrics too! Of course Cassie in the book is fictional but by the end I was starting to believe she was as famous as Janis Joplin and somehow I’d missed her music.
A homage to British music and the British music scene of the 1960s and 1970s. The author has really gone to town on her research and I suddenly had an urge to go into the loft and dig out some of my mother’s old vinyl – which thankfully is experiencing a resurgence. I will certainly be buying the soundtrack to go with this book, playing it on my record player and soaking in the musical charm of Greatest Hits