"Hip deep in music, Never Mind Nirvana is a telling inside view that perfectly captures the rhythms and sights of late-nineties Seattle."
— Peter Buck, guitarist of R.E.M.
Pete Tyler is at a crossroads. Eight years ago he dropped out of a seminal Seattle grunge band to try his hand at a more grown-up calling. Now he's thirty-six ("almost forty!"), a deputy prosecutor (a suit), still hanging out at the same clubs he played ten years ago (the ones that haven't shut down), and still dating the same kind of girls (except now they tell him how much their older sisters loved his band).
Pete decides it's time to get married—he just doesn't know to whom. Possibilities include Beth, his first love, who has disappeared; Winter, his on-and-off stripper girl-friend, who has been living the grunge life too long; and Esme´, a Sub Pop A&R executive who has some life decisions of her own to make. When a date-rape case lands on his desk—the accused is a local rocker Pete's age, the accuser an eighteen-year-old from the scene—Pete finds his past and present facing him from both sides of the aisle, and he finally has to decide where he stands.
Pete Tyler is a cooler version of Everyguy, and Never Mind Nirvana is a hilarious and unexpectedly moving story of a man with one foot stuck in adolescence and the other planted in adulthood. Richly textured with references to classic rock and the music of Seattle's legendary alternative rock scene, it is also a fascinating, bittersweet riff on a particularly American zeitgeist.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Pete Tyler is thirty-six years old. Or, as he has been saying since his birthday last week, almost forty.
He takes off his suit jacket and settles into the hammock with a copy of Richard Ford's The Sportswriter, a Vintage paperback he bought in his twenties because of the artwork—put him in mind of an album cover. Though he did not finish the book then, he thinks he will now. He is closer to the narrator's age. Concepts such as loss and regret have taken on meaning for him.
Tonight he plans to stay in and read for a change. He likes the idea of retiring into clean sheets by midnight, waking up without a hangover, knowing that the pubic hairs in the bed are his own.
However, after a few minutes Pete becomes restless. He wants to at least finish a chapter, but he thumbs forward and determines there are seventeen pages left, too many. He abandons Mr. Ford for the company of Johnnie Walker.
Glass in hand, he pulls up a stool in front of the stereo system stacked on milk crates, loads a six-disc cartridge into the CD player, cues up the Replacements' Let It Be, circa 1984. Friday night is traditionally Resurrection Jukebox night. Pete and many of his cohorts believe there is nothing more important or moving than a good rock-and-roll song, but fortunately this belief goes mostly unspoken.
His loft is eighteen hundred square feet of bouncy acoustics. The walls are whitewashed brick, floors are scuffed and scarred hardwood. Four twelve-by-five unwashed windows look out on Elliott Bay.
The simple bass riff of "I Will Dare" vibrates into Pete's chest and he lights an unfiltered Camel and nods along to Paul Westerberg, "How young are you, how old am I, let's count the rings around my eyes . . ."
Pete is vaguely aware that he is a little long in the tooth to be fixated on albums with song titles such as "Sixteen Blue," "Unsatisfied," and "Gary's Got a Boner," but he does not spend much time thinking about this. Pete prefers living to thinking. He has pressed on with this attitude despite mixed results.
Let It Be is followed by R.E.M., Life's Rich Pageant, circa 1986, with "These Days," "Fall On Me," and "Cuyahoga." Then he pulls out Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits, circa 1975, and listens to "I'm Eighteen," "No More Mr. Nice Guy," and the chestnut "Teenage Lament '74."
Next to Cooper is the Clash, London Calling, circa 1979, and after "Lost in the Supermarket," Pete clicks forward to "Train in Vain," the unlisted last track—"you didn't stand by me . . ."
By nine-thirty Pete is on his third glass of Johnnie and Pearl Jam's first album, circa 1991. During Black he starts to feel nostalgia and loneliness kicking in, just what he was trying to avoid.
He has Triscuits and salsa for dinner, replaces the suit pants with Levi's, loses the tie, slips on his old penny loafers. On the floor near his futon is a copy of SPIN, which he kicks under the New York Times Book Review. He hopes to make contact tonight with a girl who will be impressed by the latter, but knows he will more likely find someone familiar with the former.
Even more likely, he will be coming home alone, but who wants to plan for that?
What People are Saying About This
Never Mind Nirvana is the perfect book for any guy who has to think about what bands are coming to town before planning a date, for any woman who wants to have her suspicions confirmed about how lonely and strange guys can be, and for everyone who has ever wondered who's better, Nirvana or Pearl Jam. Lindquist's best yet.
Never Mind Nirvana is the first novel I've read that makes music as important as food, clothing, romance -- a fresh twist millions will be able to identify with -- and the music of Lindquist's language is a perfect match for the subject. I think he's the writer to watch in the new millenium.
A beautifully paced, original novel which moves so fast that once you start reading, it becomes impossible to stop. As swift as Never Mind Nirvana is, it also has a gravity and an underlying sadness that's not a put-on -- it feels real. Mark Lindquist's simplicity, humanity, and humor are on full display.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Short, sweet, and sour. Never Mind Nirvana is definitely a satisfying book. You'll find yourself cheering for a drunk suit who is on pace to break Wilt Chamberlin's scoring record (and I don't mean 100 points in one game). If you like John Grisham, Seattle, Nirvana, or Stifler from American Pie then you'll enjoy this one.
The author Mark Lindquist is one of People magazine's '100 Most Eligible Bachelor' guys and I can see why. Pete Tyler, the hero, apparently has a lot in common with the author and he - Pete - is the ultimate bachelor. It's kind of scary. He decides to get married when he doesn't even have a steady girlfriend and shows no ability to keep one. But Pete is intelligent and introspective, and basically a good guy, very witty. So you end up liking him the same way you could like Bridget Jones even though she was nutty. I recommend this book to women for its honest portrayal of men.
I read a review that called this book a hip modern version of the Richard Ford classic, 'The Sportwriter,' and though this fast paced story of a former musician who becomes a prosecutor is not quite that deep, it is smart, witty, knowing, and has flashes of near-genius. It's one of the best books I've read this year, and I'll be interested to see how it ages. Lindquist, by the way, has his hero reading 'The Sportswriter' in a couple chapters, which is a bold invitation to a comparison.
Lyrically cogent, NMN ends like an EP-too soon. Hit the REPEAT button to witness each constituent: compelling bass line, the rocker's ballad so deeply felt and tenuously held, the ef you/ef me deep cut, and the easily recognizable radio play. Recommended for any 'thinking while I'm drinking' collector.
Totally witty, really involving, and surprisingly powerful. This writer gets music and writes about it better than any novelist I've ever read, not about the music itself, but about how music colors our lives. Anyone who likes music will love Never Mind Nirvana (great title too).
I bought this book because I'm a big Nirvana fan and I liked the title and the cover -- and the book was even better than I hoped, even though it's not about Nirvana the band, but it is about music and euphoria and the constant striving for something satisfying. It's wonderfully modern and funny and unique.
I'm the first to review it here and I'm gonna be the first to say it: this book's gonna be BIG! Nobody has ever used music this cleverly or effectively before in a novel (and I don't know why not)-- it's smart, funny, original, and Pete Tyler is, like the book jacket says, a cooler version of a regular guy. Massive amounts of guys are going to totally identify with this book. And girls are going to like it because it's a peek behind the curtain. BIG, I'm tellin' ya.