Power Ballads by Will Boast
(Iowa Short Fiction Award)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Real musicians don’t sign autographs, date models, or fly in private jets. They spend their lives in practice rooms and basement clubs or toiling in the obscurity of coffee-shop gigs, casino jobs, and the European festival circuit. The ten linked stories in Power Ballads are devoted to this unheard virtuoso: the working musician. From the wings of sold-out arenas to hip-hop studios to polka bars, these stories are born out of a nocturnal world where music is often simply work, but also where it can, in rare moments, become a source of grace and transcendence, speaking about the things we never seem to say to each other. A skilled but snobby jazz drummer joins a costumed heavy metal band to pay his rent. A country singer tries to turn her brutal past into a successful career. A vengeful rock critic reenters the life of an emerging singer-songwriter, bent on wreaking havoc. The characters in Power Ballads—aging head-bangers, jobbers, techno DJs, groupies, and the occasional rock star (and those who have to live with them)—need music to survive, yet find themselves lost when the last note is played, the lights go up, and it’s time to return to regular life. By turns melancholy and hilarious, Power Ballads is not only a deeply felt look at the lives of musicians but also an exploration of the secret music that plays inside us all.
 

About Will Boast

See more books from this Author
 Will Boast was born in England and grew up in Ireland and Wisconsin. His fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices 2009, Narrative, Glimmer Train, the Southern Review, Mississippi Review, and other publications and is forthcoming in the American Scholar. He holds an MFA from the University of Virginia and is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Currently, he lives and writes in San Francisco and moonlights as a performing musician around the Bay Area. He's working on both a novel and a memoir. 
 
Published September 16, 2011 by University Of Iowa Press. 176 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Power Ballads

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Be it an unambitious jazz musician, still the center of his father's universe despite not following his advice ("Beginners"), a church choir simmering with family-like rivalries and upheavals ("Mr. Fern, Freestyle"), or a musician's midlife crisis ("The Bridge"), everyone shares a common attribut...

Jul 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Power Ballads (Iowa Short Fic...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

He has a wonderful eye for detail in his stories which have graced the pages of such publications as Best New American Voices 2009, Narrative, Glimmer Train, The Southern Review, The American Scholar, and Five Points and the way he writes he is fated to grace the pages of even more.

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Power Ballads (Iowa Short Fic...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

Will Boast, winner of the prestigious Iowa Short Fiction Award — bestowed on a first time author for short fiction by the Iowa Writers Workshop — has written a collection of stories that are powerful and moving and that explore the real life of a musician.

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Power Ballads (Iowa Short Fic...

San Francisco Chronicle

The heavy-metal has-beens, washed-up R&B crooners and blog-baiting indie rockers that populate Boast's 10 somewhat interconnected narratives face grinding financial struggles, take ill-fated stabs at stardom and try to salvage relationships that have been strained by the vagaries of a career in m...

Oct 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Power Ballads (Iowa Short Fic...

Bookmarks Magazine

The characters in Power Ballads—aging head-bangers, jobbers, techno DJs, groupies, and the occasional rock star (and those who have to live with them)—need music to survive, yet find themselves lost when the last note is played, the lights go up, and it’s time to return to regular life.</d...

Nov 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Power Ballads (Iowa Short Fic...

Rate this book!

Add Review
×