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Fiction that Rocks!
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Fiction that Rocks!

By TouchWood Editions
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A collection of music-themed Canadian fiction. From classical pianists to punk rockers, jazz musicians to rock groupies, these characters are sure to get you singing along!
Hard Core Logo

Hard Core Logo

edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
tagged :

Hard Core Logo is an epistolary novel that portrays a punk rock band reunited for one last shot at glory.
Adapting a scrapbook approach, consisting of monologues, conversations, letters, interviews, photographs, and related paraphernalia (including posters, invoices and contracts), Hard Core Logo tells the story of Joe Dick, an unrepentant, true-blue punk rocker, whose no-holds-barred approach to music was severely undermined by the breakup of his band, Hard Core Logo, done in by changing tim …

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The Song Beneath the Ice

The Song Beneath the Ice

edition:Paperback
tagged : literary

A year after concert pianist Dominic Amoruso’s mysterious disappearance during a private recital in Toronto, his friend, the journalist Joe Serafina, receives a package of Dom’s tapes and notebooks from a place called Wolf Cove on Baffin Island. By transcribing the tapes and matching them with entries in the notebooks, Joe slowly pieces together the story of what happened to his friend.

Dom has grown up in the deep shadow of Glenn Gould – and in the shadow of expectations that he carry on G …

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Excerpt

YOU MAY RECALL THIS STORY from the newspapers:

A year or so ago, during a recital of Pictures at an Exhibition, the concert pianist Dominic Amoruso stopped, got up from the piano, turned to the audience, paused – and walked away with­out a word. Just like that, he disappeared.

There were suggestions at the time of an attack of stage fright; the onset of some sudden illness; a temperamental reaction to some careless noise in the audience; perhaps a nervous breakdown. I was there that night. I saw what happened. I’m still not sure I understand.

He was performing in the Walker Court of the Art Gallery of Ontario. He was playing the piece with which he launched his career, and with which he is most closely associated. He’d begun with his usual brilliance. There was no hint of anything unusual.

He plays the Musorgsky as written – more powerful, per­haps more jagged than you are used to hearing it. Closer to Richter than Horowitz; closer to Ashkenazy than Richter; but all Musorgsky. Or so I am told. I am not a music critic. But I do have particular knowledge of Amoruso. I have known him since childhood. He has the nerves of a burglar. He often joked that he could play Pictures in his sleep, that he played it better in his dreams. That night, however, he became progressively more tentative as he made his way through the music and, towards the end, his hands began to jerk back from the piano as if he feared the keys might bite him.

He appeared puzzled. Then frightened. He grimaced. He fought himself. He froze. He sat for a moment with his hands raised high in front of him, unable or unwilling to move. The image was that of a child shielding his face from the attentions of a large black dog.

In the audience: silence, whispers, murmurs, gasps. Men and women shifting in their seats. A few rows behind me, a man began to clap and a shrill, two-fingered whistle pierced the rising murmur. Someone hissed at the rudeness; then, as if to explain that the hiss was meant to admonish the whistler and not the pianist, the crowd broke into earnest, almost apologetic applause.

Dominic let his hands fall. His shoulders sagged. He pushed himself up from the piano bench and faced us as if he were about to speak. I held my breath; we all did. He made a useless gesture with his hands. No words came. He looked up and flinched as if he thought something might fall on him. He turned on his heel and walked away, without so much as a sideways glance.

The director of the gallery tried to catch his elbow.

Thomas Carter is a small slim grey-haired man who favours a crisp black suit and an impeccable white shirt. Amoruso brushed past him.

Carter took centre stage and apologized briskly on Dominic’s behalf. Said he was sure it was nothing serious. Efforts were being made to take care of him, there was indeed a doctor in the house – a remark that caused a titter. There were plenty of them in the house.

And then, with a confident smile, Carter made a few remarks about the evening’s exhibition, about which more in a moment. He invited us to join him for a glass of champagne, after which he said we might like to take a stroll through the gallery.

*****

I caught up with Carter and asked if I could help in any way. He directed me to a makeshift green room off to the side of Walker Court. Dominic was nowhere to be seen. No one could tell me where he was. And so I resolved to find him.

I left the gallery and went to look for him in his usual post-performance haunts. I went to Pho Pasteur, Dai Nam – his favour­ite noodle shops in Chinatown: No, sorry, we ­haven’t seen him, not tonight, we don’t know where he is.

I went to the Fran’s on College St. No, dear, he ­hasn’t been in. At least not this evening. If he drops by later, is there a message? I took the subway to the Fran’s on St. Clair, the one near his apartment; the same response. I walked to his apartment building and rang his buzzer. Nothing doing. The doorman said he ­hadn’t seen him that evening, although I was sure this was an act of loyalty.

I was stumped.

As nearly as I can determine, he made three phone calls that evening: first, to Claire Weller – they were intimate; second, to his agent, the elderly but formidable Anne Langelier. And there was a brief and simple message on my machine when I finally got home: It’s me. I’m sorry. –Don’t worry. I’ll be in touch. His voice sounded altogether serene.

It seems to me that when someone does something quite out of character, says ­“Don’t worry,” and then drops out of sight, it is prudent to worry in earnest. I tried to return his call. I was not the only one – his phone rang busy all night long. Eventually I gave up – either several of us were trying to get through all at once and we were blocking the line, or he had taken his phone off the hook.

I finally got through the next morning.

His voice mail kicked in after half a dozen rings. His mailbox was full and would no longer accept new messages.

*****

It ­didn’t add up.

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The Angel Riots

The Angel Riots

edition:Paperback
tagged : literary

Acclaimed author Ibi Kaslik takes readers backstage with up-and-coming Montreal band The Angel Riots on their American tour. The band's story unfolds through the eyes of Jim, a small-town violin prodigy who struggles with her past as well as her present; and Rize, an emotionally charged trombone player who is stuck playing sidekick to his best friend, charismatic lead singer Jules. As the band's popularity mounts, the pressures of road-life and success begin to complicate relationships and The A …

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Five Little Bitches

Five Little Bitches

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged :

'Five Little Bitches' chronicles the intertwining lives of five young women, each of whom is plagued by her own unique demons, and all of whom are devoted to music, the punk-rock lifestyle, and an underground code of solidarity. The novel details each of the girls' personal histories alongside the rise and fall of their band, Wet Leather. As the band progresses, the girls tour Canadian, American and European small towns and big cities, and all the alleys, gutters, back stages, vans, hotel rooms, …

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THE LOLA QUARTET

THE LOLA QUARTET

edition:Paperback
tagged :

Gavin Sasaki is a promising young journalist in New York City, until he’s fired in disgrace following a series of unforgivable lapses in his work. It’s early 2009, and the world has gone dark very quickly; the economic collapse has turned an era that magazine headlines once heralded as the second gilded age into something that more closely resembles the Great Depression. The last thing Gavin wants is to return to his hometown of Sebastian, Florida, but he’s drifting toward bankruptcy and i …

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The Tristan Chord

The Tristan Chord

The Lost Art of Cree Birch Bark Canoe Building
edition:Hardcover
tagged : literary

Near the end of World War II in Bayreuth, Germany, a composer meets a musically gifted SS officer. The officer has been posted to Bayreuth to perform with other SS members in the chorus of Wagner's Die Meistersinger. The soldier has committed atrocities at Dachau, but his artistic nature is moved by the composer's unfinished opera, which he then steals.

The story shifts to contemporary Canada, where the soldier's sister, Johanna, lives near her son Robert, also a gifted musician. The novel turns …

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A Case of You

A Case of You

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : crime

"She had a voice like an angel, smooth and complex as a twenty-year-old single malt, rich as thick cream. Everyone who heard Olivia sing felt as if she could see right into their souls, that her songs were meant for them alone. This was the magic her artistry conjured. In earlier times, she wouldhave been put to death as a witch. Such was the talent of Olivia Saint." Meet Andy Curran, drummer in a struggling jazz trio. When a distinctly odd street person sings at an open mic night at the club wh …

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The Piano Man's Daughter

The Piano Man's Daughter

edition:Paperback
also available: Audiobook (CD) Paperback
tagged : literary

Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, a young piano tuner, Charlie Kilworth, faces two enigmatic questions: Who was his father? And, does he dare become a father himself, knowing that madness consumed his mother? A loving and magical tale, The Piano Man’s Daughter is a classic work by one of Canada’s most beloved writers.

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