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A Perfect Blindness Paperback – April 25, 2017
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This vivid look at Chicago's delusion-driven electro-industrial music scene in the late 1980s showcases W. Lance Hunt's gift for capturing the era's often foolish dreams and grungy realities
As the band rises on a fusion of euro-club danceability tinged with post-punk attitude, Hunt's tireless, Jagermeister-fueled nightcrawlers give us a complete tour of North Side rock clubs in the '80s--and of their own failings.
it's smartly written and sharply atmospheric-- a worthy [...] addition to the literature of rock n' roll's agony and ecstasy.
--Blue Ink Reviews
An expansive historical novel that ably evokes its time and place.
Hunt, in his first novel, tells the story of two musicians trying to make it in the late-1980s Chicago scene.
Hunt successfully conjures the story's time and a place in masterful detail.
His sentences are packed with references to the streets of Chicago, popular and underground music, and an insider's knowledge of the technical side of the life of a musician.
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Hunt used a unique way of providing their personal viewpoints giving Jonathan, Jennifer and Scott separate chapters telling the story as they see it unfold. Even the chapter title fonts match the individual characters: Scott very bold, Jennifer softer more fluid and Jonathan rather noncommittal in between.
While I found the initial focus of the story a complex one making me wonder will these three ever figure out their lives in the midst of the journey to create music fitting of the 1980‘s, in the end, their story takes on very unexpected turns of events that left me both surprised and rather shocked, yet somehow hopeful. This is a human adventure with all the elements of a great read.
Author: W. Lance Hunt
Having it all and making it big time was the goal of Jonathan Starks and his best friend Scott. Both decided to leave Columbus, Ohio and hope to find the perfect venue for their music and start up a new band in Chicago. Jonathan is a singer, songwriter and plays the keyboard and totally hot and his best friend Scott plays the guitar. Starks is involved with Amy and telling her about his move to Chicago was not a consideration nor did she find out. Living in Chicago they find themselves in a loft that needed fixing, cleaning and ready to engage in some auditions but first they needed to find a lead singer. Jonathan had no problem attracting tons of girls and Scott has a secret about himself that was hidden. Sometimes best friends do not see what is hidden right in front of them and feelings could not be expressed. Success was paramount and things were settled for a while until they were not. Jonathan, Scott and a new character named Jennifer present their viewpoints and then of course Amy. Jennifer and Jonathan and two others Howard and Dominique have important roles and the graphic and vivid descriptions of many of their liaisons and encounters add to the time period and the toxicity of the time period. Told in alternating chapters from three viewpoints the reader gets to understand each character their desires, feelings and hopes for their own success. The time period is the 1980’s and the music scene is filled with punk rock, hardcore music and the hope for success. Calling themselves from White Heat to Mercurial Visions these two best friends leave their hometown and hope to rise to the top of the charts. Jonathan is serious smart and Scott won’t give up until he gets what he wants but sometimes your wants and your visions can hinder the realities in life. Amy is obsessed with Jonathan and randomly shows up in Chicago creating friction, tension and conflicts within him and with his band members. Their relationship is toxic and his reaction to her and his performance during rehearsals and auditions falls short of what he wanted. While Scott relates to readers that he is haunted by the memory and death of his childhood friend Sammy and fixated on Jonathan. The story also deals with the fact that one member has homosexual tendencies and the mores against it and prejudice or aversion to or discrimination against homosexuals is apparent in the novel. There are many bar scenes, too much drinking to bury their thoughts and troubles, women are just there to help satisfy their needs and wants. They are not anything to deal with on a regular basis just used for their one enjoyment. While Jonathan deals with Amy, Scott allows his love of his music overtake him.
Jennifer is quite colorful and is a model agency executive that narrates her own feelings about their music and her relationship with her mother and stepfather. Some people depend on what you might call as muse to keep them centered and focused, as Amy is Jon’s first one and it ends in anger and conflict. Scott is his frontman and as you hear the music you can feel the sadness, the desperate need to have their voices heard. Jennifer is astute and realizes that both Scott and Jon have to come to terms with who and what they really are. Both lack self-esteem and both lack their true identities fighting to figure out who and what they are at all times and hoping to hide themselves behind their music.
Each character had his/her own agenda and sings and writes the songs but Amy seems to be an albatross around his neck. Scott’s own demons and fears come from losing Sammy and not wanting to be alone again. Every band has its own sound but the sound and genre in Chicago changes from the one they used in Ohio and the new members are added and the success is finally there but for how long?
Lack of sleep, long nights, rehearsals, bills and recording sessions to be paid, press releases to announce their shows and Jonathan seems to be tired and it’s taking a toll on his thinking and judgment. Jennifer is she the next Amy?
The voices alternate but Scott seems distracted as he quits his job when told he will not always get nights off for a gig as he states. Jonathan becomes too embroiled with Jennifer and now she’s become his new love interest and at times things get out of place for both Jon and Scott. Wendy seems centered and owns the loft but money is tight and their sound seems to be taking off but they need money to record, mix and stay afloat. Scott and Linda are a pair but for how long. Love interests are vividly described detracting from their prime goal to main their group famous and have a great sound. Just Walk Away sounds great and I guess maybe Jon needs to do that with both Amy and Jennifer in life not just in song.
Sometimes your eyes see what they want and there is a veil of darkness covering them as both Scott and Jon hear what they want but often get blindsided by their own fears and the need to not be alone. Ron’s photographic skills are very graphic and the rest of the crew seems centered and ready to perform but there are many scenes in bars, late nights, shifts that interfere with their lives, sleeping and the awkward morning situations that are related.
Jennifer seems bent on her own agenda and each time things go against her she reminds Jon of all that she claims she has done for him but both he and Scott seem bent on total destruction. Not always focusing on the music and dealing with other issues he asks her to leave, probably the right moves but finds himself locked in another situation as if he needs a girl to give him manly reassurance.
Scott and Kenny decide to form a new group called Unknown Vices but things do not pan out the way they are planned. Scott is still fixated on what happened to Sammy and his feelings for him as Sammy’s father refuses to accept him being gay. Scott betrays Jonathan and decides to take Kenny as his lead singer but when they approach the record producer he declines and refuses to honor their contract without Jonathan. Something happens and someone close to everyone is killed but will the person that shot him be charged or is it an accident? Jonathan cannot seem to find himself or a place for his music and does not really understand what has been right in front of him all this time. Looking into the mirror and seeing himself for the first time maybe Jonathan will understand what he failed to grasp for many years. “The unspoken desperation in the eyes of everyone around me were the songs they tried to sing, but they needed me to given them voice.” “We all need something to live for-a mirror in which to look and see ourselves reflected in a way that matters, to somehow matter, to someone.” What killed Charlene? What ruled Jennifer’s imagination and what deaden the eyes of anyone who looks in them too long? A story tragic with an ending that just might be a beginning if the person whose getting a final chance moves away from the past and rides ahead into the future. Author W. Lance Hunt takes us deep inside the music scene allowing us to see the struggles, the ups, downs and the hardships many face before any success is found.
The music takes off and the press releases explain which songs are up there in the charts and which receive low ratings. But, the
end result is something you have to decide for yourself as each character has his/her head in the clouds and all are victim of what you might say not seeing what is right in front of them, blinded by greed, confusion, success and the need for self-affirmation as the author brings the final disc or song to an end and you decide whether the title of their group should have read: A PERFECT BLINDNESS.