Music is such a powerful force in our lives, expressing our desires and fears, love and heartache, providing consolation and inspiration. We are also intrigued by musicians and their lives. Because music is a wellspring for writers, it is also an alluring and fruitful subject for book discussions. We hope that these works of musical fiction will generate lively conversations and perhaps listening sessions, as each book suggests a soundtrack.
And After the Fire
by Lauren Belfer
by Esi Edugyan
The Jazz Palace
by Mary Morris
In Morris’ transfixing historical novel of immigrants and migrants in Prohibition Chicago, jazz connects Napoleon, an African American trumpeter from New Orleans; Benny, a rebellious Jewish piano player; and his Pearl, the daughter of a woman who runs a speakeasy.
by Will Boast
Boast’s affecting linked short stories about a musician, Tim, who begins on the tuba and graduates to the drums, riff on contemporary youth culture, thirtysomething life, aging rock stars, and how disappointment and love shape every generation.
by Daphne Kalotay
Composer-conductor Nicholas, a rising star when he joins the Boston Conservatory, falls in love with a student, violinist Remy, and leaves his wife and daughter, a cataclysm Kalotay sensuously dramatizes over two decades.
by Stacey D’Erasmo
D’Erasmo avoids clichés in this rhapsodic portrait of an American rock ’n’ roll diva who, during exciting and exhausting European tours, reflects on her bohemian childhood, adding up to a keenly observed, sharply funny tale of a questing musical life.
Susan Maguire is the Senior Editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist.
Donna Seaman is Adult Books Editor for Booklist, a recipient of the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, a member of the Content Leadership Team for the American Writers Museum, and a frequent presenter at literary events and programs. Seaman’s new book is Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists.