A Novel

Book - 2008
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Three dramatic and emblematic stories intertwine in Zachary Lazar's extraordinary new novel, SWAY--the early days of the Rolling Stones, including the romantic triangle of Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards; the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the community of Charles Manson and his followers. Lazar illuminates an hour in American history when rapture found its roots in idolatrous figures and led to unprovoked and inexplicable violence. Connecting all the stories in this novel is Bobby Beausoleil, a beautiful California boy who appeared in an Anger film and eventually joined the Manson "family." With great artistry, Lazar weaves scenes from these real lives together into a true but heightened reality, making superstars human, giving demons reality, and restoring mythic events to the scale of daily life.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316113090
Branch Call Number: F LAZ


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Dec 11, 2015

"It's just that demon life got you in its sway."
Contemporary writers seem to be really into writing fiction about real people ("The Hours" "Libra"). Zachary Lazar's second novel, named after a Rolling Stones song, will be familiar to those who have read Don DeLillo or E.L. Doctrow. Lazar brings together the Stones, gay underground film director Kenneth Anger ("Fireworks" "Lucifer Rising"), and an associate of Manson in a story about the dark energy and forces of the 60s. Again, this will be familiar to those who have read Joan Didion's or Hunter Thompson's dissection of the hippie dream and exploration of the 60s black heart. For fans of the Stones, it's entertaining (esp. the portrait of the drugged out, spectral Brian Jones), but Lazar doesn't do much new with the material or give it any real substance, despite his considerable gifts as a stylist. Makes a good double feature with "Gimme Shelter," which is a much more potent, horrifying expression of what he is trying to accomplish.

Nov 29, 2012

It is rare that I can be enticed into reading a work of fiction, but the promise of a story bringing together such real life persons as Bobby Beausoleil (with whom I have corresponded) and Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones (the subject of lifelong personal fascination) proved too great a temptation to resist. Poorly written and utterly pointless. The author has committed a profoundly ignoble blunder with this stinking pile of rubbish masquerading as a book. This is not a book for reading. It is a book for lying down and avoiding. Dreadful.


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