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It’s 1974 and seven-year-old John has a big dream, to be a popular singing star. His dream is about to come true. But he is also about to discover all that glitters is not gold and sometimes dreams have a dark side. Come along with John on a ride through the 1970s music scene for some laughs, and a few tears too. John S. Wilson is the author of the acclaimed and best-selling novels Joshua and Traveler.
A sweeping look at the musical career of a fictional child pop star Bright Days and Dark proves a scorcher of a read. Compelling and smartly observational, author John S. Wilson (who gives his young protagonist his own name) demonstrates an enviable ability to get beneath the veneer of his characters with pithy perspectives that powerfully make that all-important emotional connection with his readers. Contrasting the fictional Wilsons often unassuming innocence with the darker layers of the music industry is not only enthralling but allows the author Wilson to gravitate towards social commentary. With alternating perspectives from the young John, Bob Etton and David Landau we can imagine ourselves inside the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio when John records his first album and thereafter out on tour. We are there alongside John for the highs and equally importantly the lows. The hate mail he receives and Clarence Garvey’s attempt on his life.
Bright Days and Dark is not a quick read and yet Wilson, the author, easily manages the difficult feat of making it intimate whilst maintaining a remarkable balance of sentimentality and harshness throughout. It may be a music-centric novel but in its broad strokes it’s a sober look at our dreams, the choices we make and their repercussions whilst Wilson’s ending is perfectly pitched.
Highly original and totally absorbing Bright Days and Dark is a
convincingly exceptional read and is recommended without reservation.
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Also by John S. Wilson