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Kiss the Sky: A Novel Hardcover – May 12, 2009
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The Amazon Book Review
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From Publishers Weekly
Washed-up rock star Sophie Lee has coasted along as a B-level TV celebrity since the breakup of her indie rock band, Sky, and her divorce from Ari Klein, the alluring but drug-abusing lead guitarist and fellow Harvard classmate. But when the band reunites for a one-night charity event, she realizes her dreams of stardom might not be over. Her new producer and lover, Leo Masters, pushes her into recording and touring again, throwing Sophie in over her head, as she is torn between her old love and her new one in the pressure cooker of fame. NPR radio host Chideya captures the New York music scene at the turn of the millennium in her debut novel, but fails to generate much sympathy for Sophie as she struggles through a quagmire of problems, mostly resulting from her own inability to take control of her life. Sophie's many neuroses aren't organic, a new one seeming to appear any time the reader's interest may be waning. Despite a memorable cast of side characters, the plot flounders along as ineffectually as the heroine. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In this uninhibited rock-and-roll soap opera of a novel, Chideya presents a portrait of a suffering artist who sports a résumé similar to her own. Black Harvard graduate Sophie “Sky” Lee makes her living as a music television host in Manhattan, but her first love is making music with her band. Its initial incarnation turned into a disaster when her husband, Ari (now her ex), became a heroin addict, but a reunion concert convinces the band members that it’s worth another try. With the help of a slick new manager who is also her latest love interest, Sky decides it’s time to give herself over to her music. But the same demons that feed her creativity work to undermine her stability as she battles addictions to food and alcohol. The band sets out on tour, with stops along the way in the South, home to her large and loving family, while Sky vents about her weight and her lover. Full of passionate descriptions of performing, drinking, and sexual encounters, this debut is a messy but engaging shout-out to the rock-and-roll life. --Joanne Wilkinson
Top customer reviews
Let's get any negativity out of the way, and nibble on the good morsels of this novel. Her "voice" has some growth in it as a storyteller, but it does a warmth to it that allows the words to be easily read. There are some jumps in action that feel slightly clunky- they lacked strong transitions from point to point. This is so minor that it does not detract completely from the over arching story. There were some story lines that I felt where whittled down for length and pacing sake, and maybe in earlier drafts had more flesh to them (this is pure speculation). Also, this is not an all-ages book. This is for more mature audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.
To start, each chapter is entitled after a particular song and band. The range of Artist goes from The Smiths to N.E.R.D. to Frank Sinatra to Musafir to Jill Scott and everything in between. Knowing the songs gave some insight into the chapter, which I found to be an interesting motif. Granted, I wasn't familiar with every song, but it did not detract from the storytelling. Also, meticulously intertwined in the prose, where clips from song lyrics. The lyrics did not always hail from the song that the chapter was named for, but provide a fun find when I would recognize a lyric. I read the book a second time to search for these "Easter eggs". Furthermore, Farai created lyrics for "Sky" that provided interesting commentary, and maybe a not so secret desire to be a minstrel. Of all the lyrics written, "Burn" was my favorite, although the tongue and cheek of "Shadow" provide poignant commentary and a giggle from me.
The characters, in this character driven story, are beautifully woven together and developed where a connection to Sophie, and her supporting cast is felt. There are no characters that are cookie-cutter good or bad, but human with the flaws and mistakes that are accompanied with that dubious distinction.
This is a novel, a story, you go from point A and journey with Sky to point B, where there is the beginnings of change. I loved the characters and genuinely did not want to finish the book, thus leaving the character's story in those pages. Farai's prose are precise, without feeling droned or forced. There is life and warmth in her writing. I would recommend this book to most people; however, be warned THERE ARE A LOT OF SEX SCENES. I dare say that I think Farai has a non de plume for her Hustler articles. If you do not like sexy sex scenes, then this tale is to be avoided by you.
In the end, I found this book to be very accessible, and a can't-put-it-down-but-I-have-to-because-of-work-in-the-morning read. I hope Farai Chideya continues to write fiction work, along with her other work because I think she has many more stories swimming in her head.