9780385252102 / 0385252102

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About the book:

Paul Quarrington's humorous, frenetic novel Whale Music follows the life of a musician, Des Howell, loosely based on reclusive Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson. Long retired from the Howl Brothers, the superstar rock duo he formed with his late brother, Danny, in the 1960s, Des lives in a secluded seaside mansion in southern California. Almost immovably fat and overly fond of jelly-filled doughnuts (a little like Ignatius O'Reilly, the eccentric at the heart of A Confederacy of Dunces), Des has removed himself from the world at large and can afford to spend his time working on a long, non-commercial magnum opus called Whale Music.

Des is a victim of the '60s: due to massive overdoses of drugs and alcohol, he has lost much of his short-term memory and functions (or doesn't function) much of the time in a semi-hallucinatory state. He makes his music, has strange visitors from the past and present, and is eventually drawn out of his seclusion to pursue his new girlfriend, Claire, to a strange planet called Toronto. Quarrington delivers a fast-paced, zany read, well grounded in the details of the '60s music scene (Quarrington himself spent most of the '70s as a rock bassist in bands such as Joe Hall and the Continental Drift). After winning the Governor General's Award for fiction in 1990, the novel inspired first a mythical soundtrack album to the book, Whale Music, by the Rheostatics, and then a feature film, Whale Music. --Mark Frutkin

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