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Songs from the Other Side of the Wall [Kindle Edition]

Dan Holloway
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“captures the rhythms and nuances of how we live now in a way that has rarely been done better” LA Books Examiner

“Holloway’s accomplishment is in rendering a world in exquisite detail and still conveying the universal via the personal.” Emprise Review

“a lovely book written in that rare thing: beautiful, lyrical prose.” Jane Smith, The Self-Publishing Review

“Songs From the Other Side of the Wall is a *very* good book” Erica Friedman, Yurikon publishing

“genuine promise”, Scott Pack, Harper Collins Fifth Estate/The Friday Project

“In threads that shimmer like the novel’s central image of petrol-colored silk, what could have been weaves itself into every situation.” Pank

In the Top 10 DRM-free ebooks for Christmas 2009 at ebooksjustpublished

After her mother walks out and returns to England when she’s just a week old, Szandi grows up on the vineyard in Hungary that has been in her family for 300 years. Now 18, Szandi is part of Budapest’s cosmopolitan art scene, sharing a flat and a bohemian lifestyle with her lover and fellow sculptress, Yang. She has finally found her place in the world. When she discovers that her father has only weeks to live, Szandi must choose once and for all: between the past and the present; between East and West; between her family and her lover.

Songs from the Other Side of the Wall is a coming of age story that inhabits anti-capitalist chatrooms and ancient wine cellars, seedy bars and dreaming spires; and takes us on a remarkable journey across Europe and cyberspace in the company of rock stars and dropouts, diaries that appear from nowhere, a telepathic fashion mogul, and the talking statue of a bull.

Praise for Songs from the Other Side of the Wall

“You write extremely well – with a wonderful turn of phrase and descriptive abilities which make for an atmospheric read.”

Melissa Weatherill, Simon and Schuster

“Your voice is very fresh and original…Sandrine is an engaging, intriguing narrator…Your writing is extremely good, very lyrical but always with the aim of moving the story on.”

Random House

“An artful style, with some very striking moments…The parallelism of a person and a country coming of age; the past’s haunting of the present in both; the hopes and fears of different generations: all these are rich veins that you exploit well, and provide a fascinating core to the book”

Harper Collins


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 834 KB
  • Print Length: 218 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003LN1UBG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #395,616 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

If I were giving the hard sell of myself I could say that I'm the personification of Neil Gaiman's dandelion marketing strategy - throwing creative seeds into the air, letting the wind carry them, and seeing where they fall. Someone less charitable might argue I was more of a butterfly. Or simply someone who never made up their mind what they actually wanted to do.

Having taken the decision to self-publish in 2008 before the Rise Of The Kindle, and being naturally outspoken, I found myself becoming a de facto spokesperson first for self-publishing and then for the more avant garde side of literature as a whole. In that capacity I contribute regularly to the Guardian Books Blog, have had a column for writers' magazine Words With Jam since 2009, work on the Open Up to Indies campaign for the Alliance of Independent Authors, and am a regular around the internet and on panels such at the one above at Birmingham's Pow Wow Litfest. I've even found myself at Waterstones in Piccadilly chairing a conversation between two very stoned icons of the Alt Lit movement

My own creative efforts are every bit as diverse and outre. I have written a number of literary and experimental novels including one written entirely on Facebook, for which social media bible Mashable rather flatteringly listed me among the top 100 writers on twitter. Another, much less experimental, novel was voted "favourite Oxford novel" by Blackwells readers in 2011. My prose, which encompasses four novels and a collection of short stories deals almost exclusively with the pain of those marginalised by the technologisation of the modern world. It's a mix of grit (I once headlined a fabulous Brighton event called Grit Lit) and sentiment. As well as using experimental forms to explore this (my most recent novel is written wholly in numbers), I sometimes write in the transgressive mould - as with the story I'm reading in the photo above, The Last Fluffer in La La Land, which won the international spoken word show Literary Death Match in 2010.


One of the things I love best is running literary events and groups. In 2009 I started the collective Year Zero Writers, a group of 22 self-publishers of experimental and literary fiction from 8 countries. Having started by posting daily excerpts from our work, we got the live performing bug after our lanch event at Rough Trade in Brick Lane and ended up gigging all over the place, including the above event at the Poetry Cafe. I've been running Not the Oxford Literary Festival for 4 years now, and have my own spoken word ensemble show The New Libertines, which has played to festivals and fringes in London, Mancehster, Oxford, Birmingham, Woodstock, and Chipping Norton. I have also tried my hand at publishing, with 79 rat press and eight cuts gallery press, with some significant critical success for the likes of Penny Goring's The Zoom Zoom and Andy Harrod's Tearing at Thoughts. I still run eight cuts gallery, a platform for overgrounding outstanding underground literature online and in real life.

Finally, I write and perform poetry. I've won a couple of poetry slams and was a finalist in the 2012 UK Slam Finals, and have performed at some wonderful events across the UK such as a wonderful open air gig at the Faringdon Festival, above. In 2013 I premiered my first solo show, Some of These Things are beautiful, at Cheltenham Poetry Festival.



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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dramatic coming of age tale 1 April 2011
By TopCat
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
17 year old Szandi's mum left her, at just a week old, to return to England the day the Berlin wall came down. So Szandi is brought up by her father on a Hungarian vineyard. She has grown up part of the internet generation, debating how to right the world's wrongs in chatrooms, planning on becoming a singer. She later decides to move into visual art and adopts a bohemian lifestyle with her sculptress lover Yang. When her father becomes ill she starts to reconsider her life, herself and her relationships ,and whether she should stay in the East or move to the West.

Szandi is an intense character, given to falling in love in an instant and believing her community of forum friends have the answers to all of life's problems. Frankly reading the book I was glad I didn't have any friends like her when I was younger as I think all of her questioning conversations about life and who she is would have made my brain explode. However there were parts of the book that I thought were wonderful, where I really felt I connected with her and could see the personal development and an increasing self-awareness. I got a sense of isolation and dependence on her online friends and so loved it when she opened her eyes to the wider world and realised that life offline was probably more important.

Unsurprisingly, for this sort of character, in places the language she uses and references she can be complicated. Combining this with jumps around in time that I, particularly at the start, had problems keeping track of meant that it wasn't the easiest of reads. However this could be addressed by changing the formatting, making a clearer break in the text , and as a positive I spotted few typos .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Songs from the Other Side of the Wall" investigates love, pain, time, identity, coincidence, personal fulfilment and narrative structure itself. Its ambitious and successful embrace of these big themes is served up with tasty and original forays into more specific arenas of human activity – such as the subtleties of Tokaji wines and their culture, currents in contemporary art, and the human politics of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Its hip, sensuous surface smoothly overlays a less smooth landscape of emotional disjunction and quite some existential anguish and alienation. This is offset, though, by a relatively straightforward openness to the sheer multitude of fascinating details in the world and to the disparate sensualities in people’s physical presences, plus a faith in truth and beauty (tricky though these are). The ease with which such fascinations press in on our heroine Szandi may partly illuminate how her main emotional obsession remains passively suspended in a beautiful but painful paralysis inside her – until the end. Two or three of the love obsessions in this novel are as primal, and as unhelpfully sudden and oblique in their placements with regard to external everyday life, as such obsessions often are in Iris Murdoch; and they arise in a world not dissimilar to hers in its combining a gaze that erotises both real and ideal versions of its characters, a sense of pervasive omnivorous intellect, and a tendency for that intellect to be undermined by unpredictable stabs of transcendence (often physical/mystical in Murdoch, more magical realist in Holloway). This is challenging literary art, resulting in serious entertainment.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Writing with a Wide Scope 28 Feb. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
"Who can see their life from every angle?" This is a question posed early in Dan Holloway's Songs From the Other Side of the Wall, and, like the tether of a balloon, it snakes through the hands of his protagonist, Sandrine as she puzzles over its shape and where it may lead her. There is no question that, at some point, it will slip her grasp, but it is Sandrine's journey from ignorance to understanding (and back again) that gives us the outline of this complex tale of identity, perception and art.

Sandrine is 18 and motherless, raised by her father on his vineyard in Hungary, absorbing the mutability of grapes and life as she contemplates university abroad and the memory of a brief exchange that, perhaps somewhat improbably, affected her so deeply the very fabric of her life is unraveled by it.

Growing up in post-Berlin Wall Hungary, Sandrine is surrounded by the ghosts of horrors past and politically and culturally aware youth, including musicians of which Sandrine is a sometime member, and one in particular named Michael, a European rock star with his own website (through which he and Sandrine meet). Her own blog, Songs From the Other Side of the Wall is something of an outlet to the world that she never quite participates in, choosing, instead to `wander around' or, in Michael's words: "Sometimes you don't want to be in the middle of things. Sometimes, when something's really important, it's best to watch it from the edges, from the spaces. Or even to watch other people than the thing itself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
coul;dnt get through it
Published 6 months ago by HK
5.0 out of 5 stars Great coming of age story
This is a hard book to review, for a simple summary of the plot doesn't really do it justice; this is a book where mood and tone of voice are more important. Read more
Published on 10 April 2011 by J. Everington
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Iain Banks novels - you'll like this - a top-quality book...
I've known Dan - the author of this work for over a year now. We `met' online, became friends online and I've been avoiding reading his work ever since. Until now. Read more
Published on 18 Mar. 2011 by banana_the_poet
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish Character Driven Fiction
This is a book truly made for the digital age -- hip, sensuous, smart and up to date.* Holloway is the founder of the Year 0 collective and initially made the book free to grow... Read more
Published on 1 Mar. 2011 by Marion Stein
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and haunting novel...
Songs from the Other Side of the Wall is a beautiful and haunting novel written by a true storyteller and master craftsman. Read more
Published on 26 Feb. 2011 by Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical, beautiful and brilliantly written
I have loved this book since I first saw some sample chapters of it two years ago. And I am humbly proud to call this author, friend. Read it, rediscover beauty. Read more
Published on 25 Feb. 2011 by Sarah J. Marquis
5.0 out of 5 stars Relentlessly Good
Where do I start? I've just finished this book and it's left me a little bit dumbfounded. I know I really enjoyed it, but I'm kind of struggling to put my finger on exactly what... Read more
Published on 15 Feb. 2011 by Cuban Heel
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