What makes a musician ‘gifted,’ or any artist for that matter, does not necessarily depend upon his skill and talent with his instrument. The seasoned guitarist, for example, may have mastered his instrument and moved mountains with his sound, but his artistry is not determined by talent alone. Rather, the gift of each musician, the guitarist in particular, is determined by how well he can survive the pangs of reality and at the same time continue playing as skillfully.
Debatable as this premise may seem, it is often the case that the greatest contemporary guitarists are never heard by anyone other than themselves. Those who do succeed are indeed gifted for their ability to withstand circumstance as well as advance their skill and style of play. The amateur guitarist, with a view from the bottom, works primarily on his skills and then hopes to achieve recognition and success by some fantastic turn of events. Rarely does he realize that survival, aside from talent, is equally important, if not more so.
For Noble McCloud, a soft-spoken young man from the suburbs of New Jersey, survival is but a sickness leading to the demise of the musician, and humankind in general. What really matters is the sound, not the walls the musician climbs to have his sound heard. As a result, his world is a dream rich with narcissistic fantasies about playing in packed amphitheaters and making love to groupies off-stage and having the world adore him as a legend. And this is before he even begins playing. He refuses to find a job, even though he’s broke. He would be homeless too, if it weren’t for his best friend and benefactor Shylock Winston, who works at the local coffee shop. When Noble finally decides to play professionally, after going through detox and a twelve-step program, after wooing the woman of his dreams by pretending to be wealthy, he finally grasps the duality of the artist as dreamer and as a person who must survive. This novel examines whether or not he succeeds, whether or not the amateur musician, usually alone and confused, can succeed when no one seems to be listening.
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About the Author
HARVEY HAVEL Author Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist. His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000. In 2006, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association. He has published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of Mecca, Book One, which was released last year. His new novel, The Thruway Killers is his latest work. The Orphan of Mecca, Books Two and Three, has just been released next year as well as a book, An Adjunct Down, which he just completed. His work in progress is called In the Trenches, about a Black American football player. He is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany. Copies of his books and short stories, both new and used, may be purchased at www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.com, and by special order at other fine bookstores.
What People are Saying About This
I would recommend this novel to all those who want to understand the world of a young alcoholic. Havel did an excellent job describing in vivid and realistic detail the daily life and community of his main character. He knows well the inner world of the alcoholic. He displays compassionate understanding and realistic insight into the psychology of alcoholism and recovery. I hope Havel will seriously consider a sequel to this novel.--Tim Dunn, (LCSW, CADC, Substance Abuse Therapist West Bergen Mental Healthcare, Ridgewood, New Jersey)
This is a work of uncommon grace with one of the most complex and wonderfully realized characters in recent memory. Read this book and find yourself in the company of young, talented master of the modern novel.--Christopher Keane (Author of The Huntress and How to Write A Selling Screenplay
Havel's carefully crafted novel hits the mark with characters that jump off the page- way beyond good and bad- they are real! You'll feel for them as they face and sometimes solve relationship problems so common to us all. His use of language is outstanding.--Bill Deane, (News Editor, CBS News)