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To Anyone Who Ever Asks by Howard Fishman
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To Anyone Who Ever Asks

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To Anyone Who Ever Asks by Howard Fishman
Hardcover $32.00
May 02, 2023 | ISBN 9780593187364

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    May 02, 2023 | ISBN 9780593187364

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  • May 02, 2023 | ISBN 9780593626917

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One of Houston Chronicle‘s Best Music Books of 2023

One of Publishers Weekly‘s “7 Books from 2023 You Shouldn’t Overlook”

One of Pitchfork‘s “Ten Best Music Books of 2023”

Included in Indianapolis Recorder‘s Holiday Book Gift Guide

A NEW YORKER Best Book We Read This Week

A New York Public Library Fall 2023 Pick

One of Chicago Tribune’s “52 Books for Summer 2023”

Featured in the Guardian’s “Summer Reading: 50 Brilliant Books to Discover”

Publishers Weekly Summer Reads 2023 Staff Pick

Featured in The Boston Globe‘s “Best New Books for Summer 2023”

“‘To Anyone’ is the grandly researched portrait of a talent who didn’t get her due…a rich paean to [Converse’s music], and to the profound connections that art can form between individuals, even decades apart.”—The Washington Post

“Gripping and searching… Mr. Fishman’s thoughtful and deeply researched book provides a far bolder jolt than any cover version can provide. It may yet help find for Converse what the author proposes—a place at ‘the table of great American artists and thinkers.’”—The Wall Street Journal

“Packed with detective-level details about a Renaissance woman whose work passed through this world all but unnoticed”—The Boston Globe

“So powerful…A totemic accomplishment and indispensable guide…written with Robert Caro–esque thoroughness. The exhaustive care with which Fishman approaches his subject is itself hypnotic, even devastating.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“Deeply researched and absorbing… Fishman’s book will resonate with Converse devotees and introduce others to this fascinating and overlooked artist.” Booklist, *starred review*

“Fishman debuts with a rich biography of Elizabeth “Connie” Converse… Fishman’s research is nothing short of remarkable… Fishman succeeds wildly in uncovering the anguish and beauty in Converse’s bewildering story. This should earn Converse some new fans.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Fishman’s] enthusiasm and diligence is infectious… Through the obsession of such dedicated fans as Fishman, Connie Converse will find a larger audience.” —Kirkus

“Musician, culture writer, and playwright Fishman’s extraordinary trek through the life and works of Connie Converse is a laudable endeavor… the author constructs an emotional narrative.” —Library Journal

“Converse’s story is a natural fit for our cultural moment of reclamation and long-delayed rectification…The closest we’re ever likely to come to the cypher behind those beautiful, heartsick songs.” —The New Republic

“The book is more than a timeline: it’s a quest. Starting with the fateful house party, we ride along with Fishman as he discovers each clue that pulls him through to the next nugget of Converse’s story… The quest not only lends the book the propulsive drive of a mystery unfolding, but also becomes the book’s shadow argument: the art and life of this forgotten woman is worth the work it takes to properly remember her.” —Ugly Things

“An accomplished biography unravelling a decades-long mystery surrounding the complex life and subsequent disappearance of folk outlier Connie Converse… Meticulously researched and richly told.” Louder Than War, “Best Books of 2023”

“The marvel of this book is that it doesn’t require that you be a fan of Connie Converse’s music to appreciate it. It stands alone as a mystery, an investigation, a portrait, and a poignant story of drifting and dreaming. Fishman artfully draws the reader into his obsession and quest to understand this enigmatic artist and her work.”—Susan Orlean, New York Times bestselling author of The Orchid Thief and The Library Book

“The mystery of American composer Connie Converse’s disappearance in 1974 is ongoing, and she may be lost forever. But her spectacular work has been rescued and elevated to a marvelous level by Howard Fishman. Her music belongs to an America that barely knows it exists.” —William Kennedy, Pulitzer-prize winning author of Ironweed

“Connie Converse’s songs are a revelation, finely wrought, wry, as beautiful as they are weird. I’m so grateful this enigmatic writer and her catalog are being explored and celebrated, in this book and beyond.”—Anaïs Mitchell, Tony- and Grammy-winning creator of Hadestown, and author, Working on a Song

“Howard Fishman proves himself not only to be an expert biographer but a major thinker about American culture… In Fishman’s hands, the life, music, and mystery of Connie Converse reads like a novel—and a quintessentially American story.” —Seth Rogovoy, WAMC

“Carried me along like a meandering stream that was sometimes a roaring river. A great achievement.”—Greil Marcus, author of Mystery Train

“To Anyone Who Ever Asks brings a new and original freshness to its account of the New York folk scene and all that happened after. This is not the sepia-tinted folk narrative, but a story where very complex characters turn out to be the greatest makers of art. Howard Fishman’s work is powerful, moving, challenging, a must for all who care about the period and its songs.”—Rick Moody, author of The Long Accomplishment

“Magnificent—the best detective story you can possibly imagine, a soaring tribute to the human spirit, and an astonishing act of recovery. Will touch the minds and hearts of countless people.”—Cass R. Sunstein, bestselling author and Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard University

“Terrifically engaging…a passionate and heroic quest in search of lost time.”—Tim Page, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music Criticism and Professor Emeritus of Musicology at the University of Southern California

“It takes a great journalist to find the stories behind the mysteries we carry. Howard Fishman has done that with his superb examination of Connie Converse …in To Anyone Who Ever Asks.”—Ken Burns

“Captivating…Can’t recommend Howard Fishman’s book strongly enough to those who like literary mysteries and are inspired by the crusade to make art against all odds.”—Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

“A mammoth achievement”—Richard Klin, The Millions

“Written with the detail of a journalist, the passion of a fan, and the ear of a musician.”—Alison Stewart, WNYC’s “All Of It”

“Endlessly fascinating.”—Joe Donahue, WAMC’s The Roundtable

“Fishman’s passion for his subject is contagious, his sense of mission inspiring.”—AirMail

“Essayist and musician Fishman has long been fascinated with Converse, the singer-songwriter who was briefly active in the 1950s New York music scene and disappeared without a trace in 1974. In this biography, he seeks to know the enigmatic Converse, who is now a cult favorite among music aficionados.”—Orange County Register

“[Converse] was a talented polymath unheard of in her time, but in Howard Fishman’s capable hands and lyrical prose, the woman and her work are finally knowable. Her story is incredible, and so is this book.” —Meaghan O’Brien via

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