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The book would have been stronger had Shiner skipped an interminable chapter about the protagonist's remarkably unremarkable mid-life crisis and short-lived affair. But a long digression like that in a book like this isn't really surprising, and he does finally bring things back around to the music. If the end result isn't exactly life-changing, the book does close with some bittersweet thoughts about the limits of wishful thinking, and the importance of learning to accept how life unfolds. This is the kind of book that inspires an intense and passionate love in those whom the author specifically had in mind while writing it.

If you're one of those, you really should pick this up. If you're not, there's probably another book like this for your generation out there somewhere. Jun 16, Brian O'Leary rated it it was amazing. If you like classic rock and roll, more specifically the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Jimi Hendricks, along with the human emotions related to why your marriage is failing and your relationship with your parents, then this is the perfect book for you.

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It would have been a 5, but the end was a little weak and did not really tie together or answer questions that the main character was seeking. Aug 18, Natania Barron rated it really liked it. Music and magic. Quite masterfully intertwined. Aug 25, Neon Snake rated it it was amazing. Full-on 6 star read. One of those books where you need to have lived some of the context to really take so much joy from it - for others, it won't speak to them or connect and nothing wrong with that , but for those like me, where music matters or mattered over and above all else, this is a phenomenal book.

I don't really want to touch on the story; suffice to say, there are two: one is that of the main character coming to terms with the death of his father, the other is that of the main charac Full-on 6 star read. I don't really want to touch on the story; suffice to say, there are two: one is that of the main character coming to terms with the death of his father, the other is that of the main character time travelling back to help create the albums that "should" have been made, but never were: Smile, Celebration Of The Lizard and First Rays of The New Rising Sun.

The book was written in Yes, all three of those have since been recorded.

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Yes, that is kinda weird The culture of music as an actual force for good and for change in the world permeates the book; I didn't grow up in the late 60s, but I did grow up in the 90s when we went through the same cycle with rave and indie; and, just like in the 60s, we were wrong. This is a book that brings back all the positivity of the age, and does it masterfully.

Jun 04, Melinda rated it really liked it Shelves: read-fiction-novels , read-sf. Plot Summary: Man discovers that he can "create" rock albums as they should have been instead of as they are at a time when his life seems to be coming unglued. He was a teenager in the 's, when rock was still young and exciting and not-yet commercialized. Rock and roll adventures ensue. This book is well-written. The research is detailed, but the details don't overwhelm the story. The main character Ray is human and flawed and still sympathetic. I think someone who loves rock music woul Plot Summary: Man discovers that he can "create" rock albums as they should have been instead of as they are at a time when his life seems to be coming unglued.

I think someone who loves rock music would enjoy the hell out of reading this. I'm not a huge fan of music, and I still loved it. The book is a product of its time in some ways. It was written at the tail end of the 's when the people who'd cut their teeth in the Nixon adminstration were back in charge. Being a child of the cynical 90's and two Depression babies, I had a trouble sympathizing with Ray's crises, but the emotions were believeable, and the writing is so good and the characters so engaging, I was engrossed the whole way through.

Recommended to Alan by: The long line of the dead; the long and winding road; the long,. Wish fulfillment. That's the rock and roll dream, isn't it? Dreams so real you can sing them into existence by sheer intensity. But the dream fails, so much more often than not. The history of rock music is full of missteps, roads not taken, things gone wrong. Failures of nerve, loss of direction. Death come prematurely and undeserved. Like that. There's a sense that things went wrong, somehow; that what was meant to be got sidetracked by events.

GLIMPSE | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

So what if you could go b Wish fulfillment. So what if you could go back and make the wrong things right? Ray Shackleford finds out. Although, or perhaps because, he's lost direction himself, drunkenly trapped in a loveless marriage; repairing stereos for a living in Austin, Texas; watching with horror the unaccountable ascendance of the Reagan-Bush axis; and above all else unable to reconcile himself to the death by drowning of the father who treated him with despite, Ray discovers that if he thinks about what might have been in a certain way, he can pull the sounds of that alternate past out of their universe and put them down on tape in ours, for anyone to hear.

It starts, as has so much else, with the Beatles: an acoustic, Phil Spector-less "Long and Winding Road" whose spare elegance never got recorded in our world. It's not a rejected track or an outtake; this is the song the way it was truly meant to be, the pure form it could have held if only things had been better. Wish fulfillment, on tape. Ray takes his cassette to Graham, an independent producer who can distribute it as a bootleg, of course—there are no contracts or studio tapes in this universe to back it up , and it's an immediate sensation.

Before long his friend Graham has Ray doing the same magic for Jim Morrison and the Doors—a bigger change, since it involves keeping Morrison alive and sober enough to finish the album. And Ray begins to realize the extent, and the limits, of the power that's been given to him. It doesn't seem to help Ray's personal life much.

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He does stop drinking and belately finds the courage to break off his marriage, but he's still miserable. And the time he spends rewriting history isn't good for him physically, either, even when the process works. It doesn't always work; sometimes the currents of history are too strong to be redirected, and then Ray has to figure out how to reconcile himself to that as well.

Ray does do a lot of growing up during the book, but whether it's enough to save him This is a Baby Boomer novel; it's earnest and nostalgic, and it accepts without question that The Sixties tm were a critical turning point for America—that the music mattered. That viewpoint has very much gone out of style which, it could be argued, is part of the problem and it may be difficult for the current reader to accept. Glimpses is also very much a period piece, its narrator always looking back in time and charmingly unaware of the changes rolling towards him from our own dark future.

Ray lives in —as I write this it has been as long again as the time between Ray's life and the time he is recalling. Ray repairs "stereos"—that is, record players, tape decks and CD changers. MP3s and iPods do not yet exist.


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Computers, the Internet, cell phones Politics, too—Ray has no idea how dark things were to become, and sometimes that lack of foresight can be jarring. But in spite of these quibbles—and they are just quibbles— Glimpses is one of the great rock-and-roll alternities another being George R. Martin 's The Armageddon Rag. Maybe in an alternate universe not far from this one, though, Lewis Shiner's a real rock star.


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The way it ought to be. Jan 20, Jim rated it liked it. The protagonist, Ray, a late 30s ex-drummer and now full time musical equipment repair guy discovers that he has the ability to imagine music that might have been, but never was, and not only get it to play out of a stereo system, but actually be recorded. When he plays a recording of "The Long and Winding Road" the way if would have sounded before Phil Spector got his hands on the master tapes for the owner of a Rhino Records type company that releases old bootlegs and rare outtakes and the like from s era bands, he gets talked into trying to first recreate the rumored but never actually recorded "Celebration of the Lizard" by the Doors.

In between and at the end there is a lot of not particularly interesting stuff about Ray's relationships with his father, mother, wife and past and present girlfriends. The writing is OK but not particularly poetic and the pacing is best described as languid. If one is interested in the history of the Doors, Beach Boys and Jimi they will probably like this novel.

And, being written in or , the author could not have anticipated that "Smile" would actually have been completed by Brian Wilson in , and "First Rays of the New Rising Sun" compiled and released in the late s, followed by a Spector-removed version of "Let itBe". None is very much as described in the novel but one can hardly fault the author for that. Music fans like me who were there when this all went down might like it or not, depending on their degree of familiarity with the source material, but I think that the best audience might be the next generation who heard about these bands but were not there when they were playing live and who didn't grow up steeped in s rock and roll culture.

Not bad, especially for the price, but not awesome either. It was OK. Jul 24, Richard Guion rated it it was amazing. I really liked this novel, which contains two great things put together: time travel and the rock icons of the late 60s - Jim Morrison, Brian Wilson, and Jimi Hendrix.

What if you have the power to somehow reach through time and manipulate events so that the infamous albums from rock history - which were never completed or released - actually got finished? And you had the power to record them and sell them on the black market? That's the premise here.

I knew a lot about the Beach Boys and had so I really liked this novel, which contains two great things put together: time travel and the rock icons of the late 60s - Jim Morrison, Brian Wilson, and Jimi Hendrix. I knew a lot about the Beach Boys and had some pretty good knowledge of Morrison and Hendrix.

It's a lot of fun seeing them back in their heyday and trying to avoid impending doom. At the same time, this has a pretty good story about a man coming to deal with the legacy his father left behind - a Dad who somewhat mistreated and belittled him.

Ray is having serious issues with how his father died and also with his marriage to Elizabeth.