- Series: Iowa Short Fiction Award
- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: University Of Iowa Press; 1 edition (September 16, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1609380428
- ISBN-13: 978-1609380427
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Power Ballads (Iowa Short Fiction Award) Paperback – September 16, 2011
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About the Author
Will Boast was born in England and grew up in Ireland and Wisconsin. He won the Iowa Short Fiction Award for his story collection, Power Ballads. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, Best New American Voices, and elsewhere. He divides his time between Chicago and Brooklyn, New York.
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Top customer reviews
Several of the stories have common characters, revolving around Tim, the drummer trying to make it in the Chicago music sphere, and his girlfriend Kate. They way these short stories are independent and yet interwoven provides almost a novel-like quality. This includes 6 of the 10 stories. A 7th is tangentially related, similar to the stories interwoven in Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. Admittedly, I had read the final story "Coda" in Narrative Magazine several months ago. While I enjoyed it then, I found it much richer and a more fulfilling read this time, prefaced by several other stories about the same characters, giving more depth to the emotions therein. The emotions that build over the course of the stories is also quite powerful. After "The Bridge", I had to stop reading. Fiction almost never makes me cry, but this story was one exception.
The other stories show other aspects of the music industry. Perhaps my favorite of these, "Sidemen", examines the life of a touring rock musician's wife and the difficulties with that lifestyle. The sorrow Boast captures in this story resonate with me, someone who has no connection with the music industry. Yet the feelings of loneliness are common and approachable.
I love all of the stories in this collection. Congratulations to Will Boast for winning the Iowa Short Fiction Award. From this selection of his work, it is clear he deserved it.
Then read this book because that isn't how it goes. Will Boast, winner of the prestigious Iowa Short Fiction Award, bestowed on a first time author for short fiction by the Iowa Writers Workshop has written a collection of stories that are powerful, moving and explore the real life of a musician. From the moment you are bitten by the muse, to that moment you first play in public. From your first paying gig, to the ego of the other players that will compliment your life.
The stories also explore the complications a musicians life takes on with relationships, romance, his own ego and priorities. The necessity of `selling out' to pay the rent. It's all here, from the hotel barroom gigs to the stadiums, the sound studios of legendary status to sleeping in your practice space. And underneath it all, like the steady thrum of a bass, is the muse, the `high', the addiction of your need to play music.
The stories read with a rhythm worthy of a great piece of music. The pace, collectively and individually is that of a symphony. Thought provoking, emotionally moving bring tears of loss and joyful laughs the next moment. The stories and the plot - all fiction must have a plot - seem to write themselves. They don't seem contrived or made up, but pulled from the lives of real road worn musicians. And the characters, ah the characters. I know these guys. I have shaken my head at some of them and punched out others. I have high-fived them on dive-bar stage, and bought them drinks at the Ramada Inn at 2 am. I've sabotaged their gear and sat in awe of what they could do with a piece of wood or brass.
Power Ballads is a keeper, so treat it well when you receive it. you'll want to pull this one down from the shelf over and over again and revisit it from time to time.
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