A novel of the '60s revealed in three intertwining narratives, Sway links the early years of the Rolling Stones, the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and a young itinerant musician, Bobby Beausoleil, who appeared briefly in an Anger film before joining the madness of the Manson family. Anchored in history, Sway is an evocative novel, dissecting the dark heart of a decade that began with such peace-professing promise.
The '60s unveiled a new freedom of expression, including new sounds and images, rock 'n' roll and independent filmmaking among them. Young men in bands became instant icons, their slashing beat and aggressive rhymes touching a dissonant chord no one fully understood but danced to regardless. The new cinema, less about plot than provocative sexual images, violence, and rapture, began to hold its own sway over the generation's most fertile minds. No one knew where it was headed, but everyone was on for the ride.
Lazar's novel unfolds as a series of quick cuts from one narrative to the next -- like the music and film it describes, it's inchoate and chaotic, finally colliding and gathering momentum toward a terrible conclusion. A masterful reimagining of a turbulent time, Sway is an ironic comment on the art and artists who prefigured this maddening decade and served as its dark inspiration. (Spring 2008 Selection)