"[A] smart, funny, and wonderfully resonant novel . . . It’s the 1980s, and aspiring songwriter Derek Harper is a man easily seduced. Not only do the Big Three *money, fame, and women *keep him running, but Harper falls prey to subtler forms of seduction as well: the ease of rationalizing bad behavior, abdicating responsibility, and keeping the whole world at arm’s length. All these issues are brilliantly interwoven with a behind-the-scenes look at the music industry, particularly the evolution of rap."
*Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Seduced is at its most compelling when author Nelson George delves into the differences between life in the projects and the middle-class heaven of St. Albans and how it evolved over thirty years. . . . George’s style is, well, seductive, luring the reader into a world that takes in the range of black experience funneled through the music industry."
*St. Petersburg Times
"Seduced shows Nelson George at the top of his game doing what he does best: zinging the black music biz. The road chapters alone have enough shrill wit, stabbing satire, and tight accuracy to parallel the life of anyone who’s ever been out there during the Reagan-stressed ’80s."
"In Seduced, Nelson keeps it real. This is a sex story, a New York story, and a music biz story rolled into one, starring a humble, beautifully average middle-class dreamer, who’s not unlike a male version of a Terry McMillan heroine."
Nelson George is the author of eight books, including Elevating the Game, The Death of Rhythm and Blues, Where Did Our Love Go?, Seduced, and the highly praised Buppies, B-Boys, Baps & Bohos. A graduate of St. John’s University, he… More about Nelson George
If you love music and you can remember the 1980’s, then you will love to be SEDUCED.
Derek Harper is an r&b junkie whose desire since childhood has been to be a successful songwriter in the tradition of his idol, Curtis Mayfield. Indeed, music frees Derek from the protective cocoon that his enigmatic father, an undertaker, and his devout mother created for him in their black middle-class Queens neighborhood.
Derek’s ambitions take him away from the comfortable predictability of his life to a tiny Times Square apartment in Manhattan. There he encounters the guts of the music industry in the 1980s: frustrated gospel singers, nefarious record producers, captivating vocal divas, the cultural strip-mining of jingle writing, rebellious rap groups, and record company executives in Atlanta, LA., and New York.
The seduction of women, music, and flash take Derek around the country with only his parents to act as his conscience: his mother admonishes against his irresponsible life-style. Yet it is his father’s attitude that is more troubling to Derek. In the wake of their neighborhood’s steady deterioration, his bitter pragmatism shocks Derek into maturity. His odyssey comes full circle, when Derrek gets what he thought he wanted from life–and maybe even more.
Using his own lyrics, songs of the times, and colorful anecdotes, George shows us how the treads of love–both romantic and familial–weave into the work of an artist and into building a young black man’s life.