The novel takes the reader on a tour of a not-too-distant American past, when fear was weaponized and righteous rage boiled over. Smyer’s debut explores themes of the self in chaos; the prose is clean as bone and the anger is focused and piercing.
Lyrical, brooding, and delightfully dreamlike, the novel is a strange and ruthless journey into the ailing heart of humanity—and a bizarre peek into the mind of a brilliant new novelist.
“Families of victims are allowed to grieve openly and freely if they choose, because their loved one was exactly that: an innocent victim. Families of shooters don’t have the choice to grieve openly, because they not only must carry the burden of grief, but also blame.”
“As citizens, we all have to reach out and try to be compassionate and kind, and to make sure we are working for a better existence for everybody all the time.”
The importance of music—specifically, rock and roll—cannot be overstated when considering this novel. From Iggy & the Stooges to the MC5, Beautiful Music is a veritable crash course in Detroit’s lasting legacy on the music scene; the clanging guitars and screaming singers changed the wiring of an entire generation.