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Waterloo Sunset: Stories

Waterloo Sunset: Stories

by Ray Davies
The creative force behind the '60s superband, The Kinks, offers his debut collection of short stories.


The creative force behind the '60s superband, The Kinks, offers his debut collection of short stories.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Davies rose to rock stardom as leader of the Kinks, and chronicled that rise in X-Ray, his autobiography. This sharp but uneven debut short story collection examines the underbelly of the business that made his fortune. In the opening tale, aging British rocker Les finds himself washed up in late '80s Los Angeles, hungry for a record deal and a trustworthy manager. He connects with shrewd, manipulative Richard Tennent, himself eager to make quick money after the '87 stock market crash. Despite his suspicions, Les sets to work on a demo tape that will wow the bigwigs at United Records. His efforts dredge up the host of memories that provide the plots for most of the tales to follow. (Davies divides the collection into "Waterloo Sunset"--the first 20 stories, all linked by Les's memories--and seven independent "Stories," some of which feature Les.) In one tale, Les watches a rabid rock fan unravel after his girlfriend abandons him. In the next, Les's girlfriend, Donna, begins a dangerous flirtation with a vagabond painter. "Return to Waterloo," the final narrative, ventures inside the mind of a serial rapist riding the London Underground. Classic Davies songs (among them "Celluloid Heroes," "This Is Where I Belong" and "Misfits") provide templates and titles for a number of stories; some incorporate lyrics. This conflation of rock music and literature has its pitfalls, and the stories that close by quoting entire Kinks songs seem both self-serving and unfinished. Though Davies's fiction can be both inventive and grittily realistic, it suffers from a tendency to preach against obvious targets (money-grubbing rock executives, bourgeois British snobs). The loose narrative structure can also confound readers. Tighter editing could have made this a rewarding look into the music business. As is, it's a book only die-hard Davies fans will love. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
These stories by the talented songwriter and lead singer for the Sixties band The Kinks show--John Lennon's In His Own Write notwithstanding--that great song-writing talent does not necessarily translate into the concomitant ability to write outstanding prose. What is one to make of this uneven, disjointed collection of short stories centered around a songwriter named Les Mulligan? Mulligan once wrote top-of-the-pop-chart songs and was lead singer for a band not unlike The Kinks. Now, he's in a deep personal and professional slump, shuttling between London, New York City, and Los Angeles, bemoaning the loss of his family and the celebrity he enjoyed in the Sixties and Seventies. He reminisces on the scamming, dishonest managers he's known and is bitter toward rapacious recording company executives who care little for the artists making them millions. Woven loosely throughout are actual song lyrics and the stories that inspired them. There's an unrepentant serial killer/businessman, an over-the-hill manager desperately seeking the next hot artist, and an assortment of seedy hustlers looking to broker the big deal that will change their sad lives. These back-stories add nothing to the songs and are simply not challenging enough for the discriminating reader. An optional purchase, but librarians who find that Davies's autobiography, X-Ray, is popular with patrons might consider acquiring this as a companion volume.--Jo Manning, Barry Univ., Miami Shores, FL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st Edition
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Iconic rock legend Ray Davies inspired generations of musicians—from the Who, the Clash, and the Ramones to Black Sabbath—as lead singer and songwriter of the Kinks. The band's string of top ten international hits include “You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All of the Night,” “Till the End of the Day,” “Come Dancing,” and of course, “Lola.” In 1990, the Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Davies has also acted, directed, and produced shows for theater and television.

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