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Fiction Literary

Music for Love or War

by (author) Martyn Burke

Cormorant Books
Initial publish date
Apr 2015
Literary, War & Military, Satire
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price

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Out of print

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“According to what we’ve been told, the source of all knowledge is somewhere just south of Sunset Boulevard. The problem is that Danny has lost the address.”


So begins Martyn Burke’s tragi-comic novel of love and war. Danny, a Canadian sharp-shooter, and Hank, in the US Army, have been stationed in Kandahar, but they are in Los Angeles desperate to find the Hollywood psychic who will reveal the whereabouts of the women they love. Danny is searching for Ariana, the girl he fell in love with in Toronto in the last years of the 20th century; Hank is searching for Annie Boudreau, known in the tabloids as “Annie of the Boo Two” — twins who were briefly in the gravitational pull of Hugh Hefner.


From Grenadier Pond in west end Toronto, to Afghanistan, to the Malibu colony in LA, the novel follows these moments in the lives of Danny and Hank, revealed by a masterful storyteller and commentator on American culture. When in the mountains of Kandahar, Danny and Hank torture the members of al Qaeda and the Taliban with the music and a larger-than-life-size cardboard reproduction of Liberace in satin short shorts, high-kicking as if on Broadway.


Music for Love or War entertains and informs as few other Canadian novels can.

About the author

Martyn Burke's previous novels include Laughing War, The Commissar's Report, Ivory Joe, Tiara, The Shelling of Beverly Hills, and The Truth About the Night. He is also a documentary film maker, whose Under Fire: Journalists in Combat won a Peabody Award in 2013. He has written extensively for film and television, most notably as writer of HBO'S timely and biting political satire, The Second Civil War; and writer/director of the hugely successful cable movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, which was nominated for five Emmys including Best Screenplay and Best Picture, the Producers Guild Award for Best Film, Directors Guild Award for Best Directing and the Writers Guild Award for Best Screenplay. His work has been nominated for numerous awards, including Emmys, Directors Guild, and Writers Guild awards. Recently, a series based on his novel The Commissar's Report, was sold to HBO. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, he now lives half the year in Toronto and the other half in Santa Monica. As a journalist, he has seen action in the mountains of Afghanistan and, as an observer of the absurdities of American culture, he has ventured into the clubs of Hollywood.

Martyn Burke's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“From the mountains of Afghanistan to the Hollywood Hills, Martyn Burke has written a beautiful, gripping, and timely story of love, friendship, and war. This is stunning storytelling that will make your heart race, break, then soar.”

Terry Fallis

Music for Love or War is a glorious, globetrotting epic spanning class, race, and ethical borders. Martyn Burke’s personal history as a Hollywood filmmaker and combat-zone documentarian makes this book seem less written than lived — it is filled with the crystalline details and hard-earned truths that can only be gained through on-the-ground experience. Burke is a marvel. Read this book.”

Craig Davidson

“A beautiful, sad, and funny story about finding the woman that got away. We all can’t write our stories like this.”

SHARP Magazine

“Manages to effortlessly sidestep predictability in a war-based narrative … there’s a lot to love.”


“Gripping, hilarious, otherwordly, brutal, heartbreaking. A transcendental tale of love and hope for a post-911 world.”

Jon Steele, author of the <i>Angelus</i> trilogy

“Martyn Burke gives new meaning to the term “muscular prose” … [an] entertaining, well-told war story.” NNNN/4

NOW Magazine

“Burke finds enduring love amid Afghanistan’s endless war and a magical story emerges from the ashes.”

Paul Watson

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