I read ‘Songs from Richmond Avenue’ by Michael Reed in May as part of my summer reading books. I was very attracted to the book because of its cover and the synopsis. I read it and finished it in a matter of a few hours. It is a 183-page book on Kindle but it is a book that is impactful, ingeniously crafted, and full of erudite thoughts. It is a book about the underdogs of American life in urban bars, and you will just love the way the accomplished author Michael Reed has crafted the story.
Personally, I love books set in a bar or about a bar and bar life. No, I neither drink alcohol nor smoke, but I just happen to like such books, especially if the writer has used a lot of intellectual dark humor in his fiction which Michael Reed has managed to do perfectly well. The very first line in the book grabs you:
‘As it turned out this was never really just about sex . . . something that involves me and a pretty woman isn’t just about sex.’
That line really grabbed me because, yes, I was wondering what the protagonist was on about where one particular pretty girl was concerned. And so, I was hooked.
Reed has managed to create such beautifully wholesome characters that you can actually end up loving all of them. The book is character/s centric with a lot of dark humor as well as regular humor. The book is about life at the bar which the protagonist patronizes. It’s about the various people who patronize or sometimes practically live there in the bar and how they are involved in the happenings of this very unique book.
I loved the characters and the way the way Reed has used very innovative figures of speech as novel descriptions to introduce the characters, a real motley crowd, to the reader. You will love the characters from Ned to Pete, from Michelle to Candace, from Eddie to Danny, from Honey Sanchez to Just Bob; all of them are painted well with a touch of genius. Definitely the book is character centered and moves along because of the interactions between the characters.
The atmosphere of alcohol and smoking diffuses throughout the book. Those of you, like me, who love such atmospheres and the goings on in them should definitely read this awe-inspiring book. The book is a realistic take on the alcoholics, smokers, homeless, tramps, bartenders and the other bizarre people that find a home in bars. I would categorize Michael Reed’s book as realistic fiction with a twist which happens in the end and which you will have to watch out for; it’s awesome.
I too am a writer of realistic fiction and it’s always a pleasure to read another writer’s work in my favorite writing genre. But I think Michael Reed definitely surpasses me as a realistic fiction writer and has done a brilliant job with ‘Songs from Richmond Avenue’. I need to learn a lot from his unique and laugh-out-loud style of crafting a character.
When you read ‘Songs from Richmond Avenue’ you feel one with the book and it’s driving force, which are all its myriad of characters carrying the main protagonist, Newsman, forward to his lady love, Michelle. Through the eyes of Michael Reed, you get a feeling that you are seeing the characters through the eyes of a person under the influence of drugs. Ethereal to realistic and then from realistic to thriller mode, the book keeps on adding new surprises to the lives of the protagonist Newsman, and the people in his life.
I would comfortably call ‘Songs from Richmond Avenue’ as a literary fiction book with a realistic take on bar culture and the culture of homeless people in America. It was an entertaining and yet an informative read; I really loved the book.
To get to know about where do the ‘songs’ come in, you will have to read the book and try to figure out the hints given to you by the writer to determine the essence of the ‘songs’ coming from this section of society.
The book is a work of art; I cannot stop raving about it and highly recommend the book to everyone reading this post.
If you like dark humor with literary content then read this book. If you like a literary fiction book with a twist in the tale and a few mysteries to solve or decode along the way then this is the book for you. It is the perfect book for summer reading so go grab your Kindle copy right now. If you like your books which have got a thriller edge to it but which does not necessarily ‘spook’ you then this is the book for you; go buy it!
I hope to read more books by Michael Reed in the future.
Do support Michael Reed and his great book ‘Songs from Richmond Avenue’.
Happy Reading to all, this Summer!
Copyright © 2019 Fiza Pathan