“This is a remarkable novel, elegant, wise, and beautifully constructed. I loved the book, and admired the work and spark that went into it.”
“Imagine having happened upon Dylan singing in Harvard Square, or having caught one of Joni Mitchell’s early shows at an empty club. This is how I felt reading Liz Moore’s lyrical and powerful debut novel, like I was witnessing a timeless artist on the verge of transcendence. The Words of Every Song is a virtuoso performance. These beautifully rendered characters are melodies that echo in your head, chords that reverberate in your heart, and, long after you’ve turned the last page, you can still hear the audience calling for an encore.”
—Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi
“A young veteran of the New York club circuit meditates on music and the people who make it in a confident, affecting debut collection.
Theo Brigham is an A&R executive poised between innocence and experience. Jax Powers-Kline, his boss at Titan Records, is about to learn that she long ago ceased to be human. Siobhan O’Hara is the leader of a band that Theo hopes will be big, but most likely won’t. Tommy Mays is an indisputable rock star, Titan’s most popular, most lucrative act. These are just a few of the characters—some hopeful, some successful, all on the brink of transformation—whose stories are intertwined. Moore is a musician herself, and her depiction of the music industry rings true. But it’s the stories concerning adolescence that are the strongest—like “Tia, a Terrible Dancer,” about the fattest member of a teen girl group. Moore is, most vitally, a writer capable of capturing a character or a scene with one or two luminous details. As outstanding as this book is, it’s almost as remarkable for what it isn’t—not an expos, tell-all or satire. The reader isn’t forced to extract enjoyment by, say, guessing who Tommy Mays really is. He really is a rock star who sometimes sings songs that he hates because his label likes them.
Sweet, wistful, artfully arranged: like the best mix tape anyone ever made for you.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)