Death of an Unsigned Band by Tim Thornton
|Death of an Unsigned Band by Tim Thornton|
|Genre: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Susmita Chatto|
|Summary: The trauma that is being in an unsigned band is fully explored a novel that experiments with different styles and mirrors the wide-ranging experience of the characters.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: July 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
Russell knows that his band is going nowhere, and the prospect of a life consisting only of a grim day job and some depressing creative exercises is getting him down. But when Josh turns up with a potential way out, it's not quite the way Russell, or any of the other band members, would have envisaged.
The story is told partly in traditional narrative and partly in documentary format. The traditional narrative works the best, with some parts of the documentary style feeling a bit unfinished as the characters sometimes appear incomplete when speaking in their own words.
The characters themselves are well drawn, with key quirks and attributes being introduced quickly in order for us to get to know them. The painful trivialities that create tension within any group that's forced to spend a large amount of time together are well demonstrated and Russell's feelings in particular, I felt, were well expressed.
Thornton creates regular comedy throughout the narrative, but it is very much needed. The depiction of the daily lives of this collection of characters is harsh; the regular revulsion of Russell's day job, the manky rehearsal rooms and the sheer tedium of the constant effort of being in the band do need some light relief.
The lows of the situation are the novel's main focus, and it seems a pity that Thornton didn't produce more of the comic moments for which he clearly has a talent. It might be the case that those who can relate to this novel more than I can, on a personal level, will find some of the situations described quite hilarious, while I found parts in which I could see the humour, but I couldn't feel it, because the whole experience the band are having just seems too depressing.
It may be because of this that most of my sympathy ended up with Russell; perhaps Thornton has given more insight into him than into the others with this intention? Regardless, it's not until the near the end of the novel that the reader feels the situation getting a bit lighter and it's a welcome relief.
There are a great many references to music of course, and it's interesting to see these in the context of how they influence individual characters, and to recall moments in time that have particular tunes as a backdrop, seeing their influence through the eyes of others instead of your own.
Overall, this is a cleverly written and entertaining read and will certainly appeal to those familiar with the situations described. Unsigned bands everywhere, I salute you!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
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