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Glimpses Paperback – 21 Jun 2001

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Paperback, 21 Jun 2001
£20.76 £0.55

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press; 1st St. Martin's Griffin Ed edition (21 Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312267436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312267438
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 2.2 x 23.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,652,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A psychedelic odyssey...soars on the escapist wings of a re-created era." --"Rolling Stone"

"A pop-music fairy tale linking the Beatles to Bruno Bettelheim." --"The Village Voice"

"I hesitate to call a book 'important, ' but this may well be that...I found it deeply satisfying." --"St. Louis Post-Dispatch"

"The novel sparkles...A story of uncommon sensitivity, insight, and redemptive power...Shiner writes with intense feeling." --"Publishers Weekly"

About the Author

Lewis Shiner is the award-winning author of five novels, most recently "Say Goodbye, The Laurie Moss Story. "He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 25 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
It's got a backbeat, you can't lose it... 6 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If ever a book deserved to come back into print and stay in print, this is it. Lewis Shiner has written the great American rock and roll novel. Ray Shackleford has the ability to step into the past and call forth music that never was -- but should have been. His journey will be through both darkness and light, of self discovery and myth shattering. Like any good rock and roll tune, it is at once sad and joyous. The writing makes the time period he travels to (the 60's) so palpable, we feel as if we might walk around a corner and step into them ourselves. The scenes involving Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys' "lost" album Smile are alone worth any effort it might take to locate this book. In the song "American Pie", Don McLean posed the question: "Can music save your mortal soul?" If you read this novel, you will know without a doubt the answer is "Yes."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Under Rated Rock & Roll Classic! 21 Dec 2008
By Jym Cherry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first three years after discovering Glimpses by Lewis Shiner I read it once a year, which doesn't happen to me very often in reading a book.

Ray Shackleford is a stereo repairman with problems. A father with whom he had a contentious relationship has died under mysterious circumstances, his marriage is unraveling like a ball string in his fingers and he can't quite grasp the threads to pull it back together, a burgeoning drinking problem, and a career as a rock star that never got started much less going anywhere. But he has discovered a means of escape, by retreating into the past, and not just any past, he retreats to the 60's to help the idols of his Rock `n' Roll dreams reclaim what they've lost, their lost albums. Brian Wilson's Smile, Jim Morrison and The Celebration of the Lizard, and Jimi Hendrix's The First Rays of the New Rising Sun.

I first read this book because I was looking for a nice escapist book to lose myself in for a few hours. I found that. The more I read the more I found myself drawn in, especially to Ray's trips to the past, his getting drawn into Brian Wilson's family, living the Rock `n' Roll lifestyle with Jim Morrison as his guide, and Ray's truly heartbreaking attempts to keep Jimi Hendrix from dying. The question is will these trips to the past help Ray heal the same issues he has in his life?

There is the element of time travel in this book. Is Ray really going back into the past and meeting his idols? Or is he suffering a series of strokes? Glimpses offers evidence of both, giving the reader the choice of which is truly occurring.

On each reading of Glimpses, I found something new in it, some nuance previously undiscovered. I guess one could say that is due to the changing circumstances of my life. But isn't that the mark of any good book? That we can find something new in it from whatever perspective in life we are coming at it?
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Can't get it out of my head... 20 Jun 2001
By Jennifer Saylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I can't turn it off, turn it down, wash it off, or get it out of my head. This book has really gotten to me.
Did you ever notice how full of feeling some Beach Boys songs are? How "Good Vibrations" is a jolt of pure happiness and hope, a ray of sonic sunshine? This is a book for people who've noticed things like that. But "Glimpses" is much more than a love letter to great music or a document of the late sixties --it's a shamanic journey into human powers of healing, repair, and redemption through spiritual and emotional connection.
The book is actually set in the late eighties: Tienanmen Square, Lockerbie, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Milli Vanilli, Richard Marx, Martika... The ordinary-guy protagonist, stereo repairman Ray Shackleford, becomes able, through music, to enter altered states of consciousness and being--he closes his eyes, sinks into the music, and he's twenty years in the past, with the Beatles, with Jim Morrison, with Brian Wilson.
IMO, here's where the author turns what could have been a straightforward novel of time-travel into a shamanic journey of raw spiritual power--because it's NOT the past Ray is visiting, as his actions there never affect the present. I'd argue that he's entering the collective unconscious of our species--a sort of matrix of memory and desire. While in this realm of the unconscious, Ray Shackleford, music lover and accidental shaman, meets the musical gods of the late Sixties, on a mission to save their great works lost to mental illness or death. Instead of just repairing stereos, he tries to repair the past: the lost life, the lost futures, and the lost music.
Amazingly, the human drama of Ray's everyday life is even more compelling than his nonordinary travels. His personal journey is of equal importance to his musical journey, and mirrors the healing he undertakes in reshaping the past--dealing with the destructive emotional legacy of his dead father, and exploring, forming, and reforming his attachments to friends, lovers, and family. This isn't just a book about fantasy encounters with musical icons, about a music-lover's "rescue" of the great lost albums of the sixties. Primarily, it's a story of yearning and redemption in one human life. Read this book if you love the Beatles or the Yardbirds or Hendrix or the Beach Boys (especially the Beach Boys) or the Doors or Dylan or Janis or Love or Van Morrison or any of the great musical pioneers of that era, or any of the great musical pioneers of any era, anywhere. Read it if you are drawn to the unstable edges of human experience where reality and desire intersect, making beauty and pain and healing and fear and love and music. "Glimpses" is like nothing I've ever read before--simple, beautiful, powerful, moving, important, unpretentious, full of hope and life, yet unafraid of the terrible costs of growth and love and change. Almost nothing in the book is less than earned, or real, or right. This book is holy in its way, to me, a woman who loves music, a woman who has her own happy endings to hope for, her own journeys of redemption and growth to take.
This book deserves to stay in print forever. Like all beautiful things that do good in the world, it should never be lost.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
listen with your heart - you will understand 4 Oct 2003
By Alexander Gitlits - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
All right, I know it's strange to start speaking about a book, which touches upon the Doors, Beach Boys and Hendrix with a quote from a Disney song, but it IS an appropriate one.
Because this book is not only about music, but also about how we react to it, and how our life changes (maybe) because of music.
I'm too young to remember the 60s (being born in 1976), but this novel really fleshed out that era and its people for me. I think that for those, who really was there it will be even better.
Glimpses is not fantasy in ebveryday sence. I'd say it's magical realism, not unlike Jonathan Carrol or Haruki Murakami.
And the thing that makes it really great, is that it can convey to you the feeling of listening to the best music that never was, and I can't think of many authors who can wright about music so vividly. That's a tremendous achivement.
In short: this book lets you glimpse another world. And it as real as this one. I don't know how Mr. Shiner does it. It's a kind of magic
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An intriguing Freudian fantasy scaffolded by rock music history and criticism 1 July 2010
By ninjasuperstar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The setting is 1989. The protagonist is Ray Shackleford, a man in his late thirties who is trying to deal with the death of his father, difficulties in his marriage, and a complex myriad of his own emotional inadequacies. But this typical narrative opening gets strange very quickly when Ray discovers that he has the ability to conjure lost songs and unfinished albums of great rock music icons of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Lewis Shiner's Glimpses is one of those successful genre-blend novels that are rare in contemporary fantasy. The book is sometimes about rock history and criticism--the magical influences of Jimi Hendrix, Brian Wilson, Jim Morrison, and the Beatles as well as the author's imagination about what influenced them to strike a chord or ink a lyric. The novel is also about the Freudian mind-mess sons inherit from their fathers. But these descriptions merely mash together what Shiner takes a great deal of care unfolding. The wonderful turns of phrases and sense of movement in the novel have a lyrical quality that does not alienate the reader but rather draws the reader in.

The book is currently out of print, but I hope you can find a copy here on Amazon or through your local library. The book won a World Fantasy Award for Best Novel for a reason. It's well-wrought prose, an intriguing fantasy story that relies on the Freudian rather than the Tolkien tradition, and it gives you that pleasure only fine novels can--moments when you must put the book down, stop, and think new and exciting thoughts.

For those who liked this book, I recommend Ken Grimwood's Replay. There's a similar kind of science fiction at work in Replay, that is, science fiction used to both rarify reality so that it doesn't appear mundane, and clarify reality so that it doesn't ultimately appear confusing and hopeless.
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