Sound by T. M. Wolf


12 Critic Reviews

Smart, entertaining post-postmodernism, and with surfboards, too.


Built on musical notation and modeled after hip-hop beats, an innovative first novel set on the New Jersey shore among neon-lit arcades, riot-haunted blocks, and dilapidated boatyards

Sound is the story of a young man who drops out of graduate school and returns to his hometown on the New Jersey shore, only to find that home is not what he remembers it to be. Brainy, music-obsessed, and adrift, Cincy spends his days managing the crew of a local boatyard, his nights roaming the shore's bars and boardwalks. His fleeting encounters with a woman called Vera, whose path he crosses but whose love he can never seem to earn, soon develop into an obsession. As he pursues Vera through a tangle of wild parties and packed clubs, Cincy is trailed at every step by the police, who have their own mysterious plans for him and his coworkers at the yard.

Loud with the sounds of thumping cars, riot-haunted blocks, and amusement parks, this first novel from T. M. Wolf takes the reader into uncharted territory. Sound braves an entirely new way to tell a poignant story about being young and searching for love and for home.


About T. M. Wolf

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T. M. Wolf is twenty-nine and grew up on the New Jersey Shore. He has written for a variety of music publications, particularly on hip-hop. He recently graduated from Yale Law School.
Published April 24, 2012 by Faber & Faber. 384 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Sound
All: 12 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 4


May 01 2012

Smart, entertaining post-postmodernism, and with surfboards, too.

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Below average
Reviewed by Toby Litt on Jul 20 2012

When the object of his attentions is the plyboard flimsiness of present-day America, this is a very fine thing; when the object of his attentions is Vera, this is a waste.

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The Independent

Reviewed by Peter Carty on Jun 17 2012

Wolf widens this modernist niche with gusto and the result is a novel that can truly be described as pitch perfect.

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Below average
Reviewed by Maura Johnston on May 05 2012

But the combination of its gimmicky, glib surface, its wince-worthy romantic ruminations, and headachey design make it more likely to collect dust than get multiple spins.

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We Love This Book

Below average
Reviewed by Stacey Bartlett

Arguably, any real 'beat' in Sound is drowned-out by the yet louder drone of its author's over-thinking.

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The Rumpus

Reviewed by Catherine Tung on Jun 11 2012

Wolf has invited us to learn with Cincy... We’re happy to come along for a while.

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Full Stop

Below average
Reviewed by Matt Orenstein on May 21 2012

Helpful as it is to graphically emphasize certain details — the volume of sounds, different fonts for different speakers — it can be intrusive and diverting.

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Capital New York

Reviewed by Tobias Carroll on Apr 27 2012

For all that Wolf does to modify and play with the form in order to tell his story, he also has his storytelling basics down, making for a fine balance of innovation and tradition.

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The Cowl

Reviewed by Jorge Lucas on May 03 2012

Once the cover is open and Wolf’s newfangled approach is discovered, the pulpy pages will accelerate and fly by like a flipbook.

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Reviewed by Stephan McCormick

...he certainly has succeeded in rendering these metaphors through modeling dialogue, stream of consciousness, musical lyrics, and “distractions” on a kind of musical staff...

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Of Books and Reading

Jun 13 2012

The writing is bold and in-your-face and works with Music and Sound being the backdrop.

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Reviewed by Jim Dempsey on Jul 02 2012

Sound is an unpretentious, entertaining novel told in a refreshingly imaginative way.

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Reader Rating for Sound

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