Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav

The Perfect Sound

Best Seller
The Perfect Sound by Garrett Hongo
Hardcover $30.00
Feb 22, 2022 | ISBN 9780375425066

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Feb 22, 2022 | ISBN 9780375425066

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Feb 22, 2022 | ISBN 9780593316429

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Product Details

Praise

“Soulful . . . Hongo delivers a memorable memoir on reflection and artistry, as rendered through his audiophile tendencies . . . As he describes in lyrical, fervent passages, his penchant for spinning vinyl on cheap turntables would eventually become a love for elaborate equipment, amplifiers, speakers, and vacuum tubes . . . [A] paean to the power of music.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Music throbs in the background throughout this spirited memoir . . . Along the way, the author offers a history of the invention of the vacuum tube, amplifiers, and the various permutations of the phonograph. A memoir of self-discovery via homage to the richness of sound.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Contrary to Marcel Duchamp’s quip that one can look at seeing but cannot hear hearing, in The Perfect Sound we hear the proverbial juice flowing, or blood rushing, in the soul of a poet acutely attuned to a world of sounds. From his first soundscape of ocean surf in Oahu to Rabelais’s fantastical sea of frozen words, from cicada to Aeolian harp, from La Bohème at La Scala to the Heart Sutra at a Kyoto temple, Garrett Hongo ingeniously mixes personal memoir with cultural history and offers us an indispensable guide for the search of acoustic truth.” —Yunte Huang, author of Charlie Chan

“Garrett Hongo is among writers who believe you can save everything, everyone—if only their music put into written words. Obsessively building and rebuilding audio machines, he recovers his Hawaiian childhood, his gone family, and the ancestors. The Perfect Sound is an enlightening read. —Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior

“Garrett Hongo is a master, but be advised: this memoir will have you spending hundreds of dollars on audio devices, and hours of delight and even awe as you read. It is not all about stereos—it is an aria of living, hearing, feeling, writing. Masterful.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels

“Journeying with this gifted memorist into the heart of the ‘perfect sound’ is to engage with special harmonies of ecstasy and heartache. Erudite, sensual, frank and delightful, Garrett Hongo has always been for his devoted readers a singular kumu mele, our spirit guide to lovely song.” —Chang-rae Lee, author of My Year Abroad

“‘Exuberance is beauty,’ says William Blake, and this is a truly exuberant book: exuberant about music, about language, about life. Read and drink in its spirit!” —Mark Edmundson, author of The Fine Wisdom and Perfect Teachings of the Kings of Rock and Roll

“A quest organizes the telling of a life. In his memoir, The Perfect Sound, Garret Hongo’s deeply informed and passionate quest to bring recorded music to life ingeniously parallels his development as a poet seeking a voice that will become his recorded identity.” —Stuart Dybek, author of Childhood and Other Neighborhoods

“Picking up where he left off in Volcano, Hongo shifts the focus in this new memoir from Hawaii to the wide-ranging soundtrack of his long life, well l​ived on three continents. His clean, poetic prose and dry sense of humor about his quest for the hypermaximal gear to hear it all anew are two of this book’s many pleasures.” —James McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street

Table Of Contents

Preludio
1

Part One
The Perfect Sound
11

Part Two
I Started Out on Stereo
55

Part Three
Tubeworld, 1
127

Part Four
Tubeworld, 2
163

Part Five
It’s My Life
209

Part Six
Wandering Rocks, 1
255

Part Seven
The First Amplifiers
283

Part Eight
Talking Heads and Singing Platters
345

Part Nine
Wandering Rocks, 2
401

Part Ten
Among the Bohemians
433

Outro
495

Acknowledgments
519

Notes on Sources
521

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates from Garrett Hongo
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Dismiss
Thanks!
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top