Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft

It's true.  I am hard on my books.  You don't get your money's worth till you've slammed them against the wall a few times.  Broken their backs.  My books are my family - the more they hurt me, the more I hurt them. p.6 ARC
Sheer beautiful sadness.  I cried and by cried I mean tears streamed down my face through the last part of this book.  It was so inherently sad and hopeful and there was beauty and pain.  I don't even know.  To lose your brother, your own twin, is horrible, but Jonathan lost a piece of himself and doesn't know how to put himself back together.  His friends, his Thicks as he call them, do their best for him but they miss Telly too.  And Jonathan could care less about being a genius poet or school or anything.  But he receives an ultimatum from his principal to write a World War II veteran's biography and to play a song of her choosing at graduation or repeat his junior year.  Through listening and writing the man's life story, Jonathan begins to connect with his own loss.  And through his guitar he learns about deep sadness and breaking the cords to play it out.

There is a lot of guitar/music talk in this book and I don't play so I couldn't follow along exactly but I got the idea of how Jonathan plays his blues and infuses it into his guitar and into his poems.  The story of the WWII veteran, David, is a sad one but it shows how one day can haunt you forever.  The parallels drawn between the life defining moments of David and Jonathan are interesting.

It is also a deeply poetic book, justifiably since Jonathan is a poet.  There is a lot of imagery and very poetic writing involved.  Most of it was really good, some of it was heavy handed.  But I enjoyed Wessolhoeft's voice for Jonathan.  It was real.

I'm way past writing for the fun of it.  Lots of times it's not fun.  I write because I have to.
If Stalin or Hitler arrested me and tossed me into one of those camps, I would carve words with my fingernails.  If they cut off my fingers, I would write with my teeth.  If they pulled out my teeth, I would blink my worked to any listening bird.  If they cut off my eyelids,  I would fart code into the trosposphere.
You'd have to kill me to stop me from writing.
It's how I breathe.
p.175 ARC
Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Hogwarts:  Muggle Studies


  1. Sounds great. I have seen this book at netgalley, but didn't know if I would like this. Now it sounds really good and the character too.

  2. @Nina - I didn't know if I would like it either but it was really good.

    @Juju - Thanks.

  3. I'm reading the e-book arc from NetGalley and I find it to be just as you describe. I haven't gotten as far as the writing of the veteran's memoir. He's just learned he has to do it. The way he still talks to his brother is touching, that he thinks his brother was better than him at everything, is sad. And mom, well enough said.

    Your review is very eloquent and hits home. Thanks for putting the feelings into words.


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