In the early 1960s, the girl group The Annas ruled rock ‘n’ roll with their wild beehive hair-dos, soaring harmonies, and bad-girl attitudes. Narrated by their songwriter, Dink Stephenson, this suspenseful tale follows the rollercoaster life and mysterious death of the haunted-eyed and raven-haired lead singer, Anna Dubower. At the top of the charts, The Annas have two number-one hits. The endless talent and callous intrigue of Anna Dubower peaks in a passionate affair with a preworld-conquering John Lennon. Then comes the British Invasion, and almost overnight, The Annas’ fame crashes. Desperate to retake their former glory, The Annas make one last record, Love Will Cut You Like a Knife, written by Dink (though credit is stolen by others), who is now Anna’s lover. The disc flops, hopes are dashed, and a couple of months later Anna Dubower is dead. Now 30 years later, the fatal recording is hugely popular in movies and television, and Dink, still obsessed with memories of Anna, is suing for true authorship. The captivating drama surrounding Anna’s harrowing life unfolds as her stirring love story intersects with the legal drama and coldcase investigation surrounding her death.
Robert Dunn is a writer, teacher, and musician. He has published widely, including work in the New Yorker and an O. Henry Prize story, as well as the musical novels Pink Cadillac (a Book Sense 76 pick), Cutting Time, Soul Cavalcade, Meet the Annas, Look at Flower, and Stations of the Cross.
Dunn has worked for the New Yorker magazine and Sports Illustrated, as well as teaching fiction writing at The New School in New York City. In the 1980s he was Bernard Malamud’s personal assistant.
Lately, Dunn has taken up photography; his photobooks (OWS, Angel Parade, and Meeting Robert Frank) are available at the ICP Bookstore, Dashwood, the Strand, and numerous other art bookstores.
Dunn is married to a ﬁlm art director and lives in New York City.
Robert Dunn has tapped into a new genre of fiction with his musical novels. This one has twists and turns galore and characters that are easy to fall in love with. I practically tore through it, feeling immensely gratified when it was done as if I'd just had a really terrific, yet inexpensive meal.
Dink Stephenson was a songwriter in the heyday of girl groups of the 1960s. Fast forward thirty years and he is a high school music teacher in Arizona. He finds himself embroiled in a lawsuit when his final should-have-been a hit song becomes popular and he wants to gain full writing credit for himself and his former partner - one sleazy producer and one ultra-sleazy quasi gangster stand in his way. As the suit gets underway Dink takes a walk down memory lane as he recalls the early glory days, his dark past, and the girl that got away.
Meet the Annas has a good premise and there is a bit of a mystery that might engage readers towards the end. However, there were bits that irritated me (see more below) and the resolution of the mystery was not completely satisfying (also see below.) Nook offered this as their Friday Free book a few weeks ago, so that is why I read it. Overall the story was enjoyable - but I am glad I didn't have to pay for it.
A few things really bugged me. One, Princess and Dink are supposed to be good friends and writing partners - but when his mother is murdered and he needs a friend, she isn't there for him! I know that she was busy in LA, but really she couldn't take a week off? The lead singer did, why couldn't she??? And, why hadn't they spoken to each other in so long? They had such a weird relationship.
Why was Trudy so mad at Dink for all those years? I know she thought he was the one that got Anna pregnant, but he was obviously in love with her and proposed to her. I get that she might have been jealous, but to blame him for everything?
Finally, I didn't like the end. I thought making Punky the "villain" was too obvious and I didn't like it. Plus, what was all that stuff about honoring him the right way and making it out like he was such a great guy? I think the author didn't quite know if he wanted Punky to be good or bad and made a mess of the end.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
First off, terrible cover. But I am clearing off books that I haven't read on my nook, so this seemed as good as any to start.
The Annas are/were a Diana Ross and the Supremes type of girl group from the 60s that make it big, and then end when the Beatles come. Dunn may win over people who remember this period, but I don't since I was born in 1984. I didn't get the premise of the musical novel. I didn't see it. I thought the subject has been beaten to death (and then Dreamgirls killed it). I didn't see anything more creative or unique that he had to offer, and was rather bored. I didn't believe Anna (singular). Innocent, vixen, vulnerable, raw sexual energy. PICK ONE! She can't be a sex god and a virgin. That's not the way it works!
Hollow characters, dumbed-down mystery, and a sad, sorry plot. Good bye Annas.
The Annas are a fictional girl band from the 60s, working and living alongside artists like The Beatles and Elvis. The book is about their rise to stardom and then eventual fall from fame. The story is historical, romantic, and mysterious all at once. It started out slowly and I had a hard time really getting into it. The story takes place in modern day but refers back to events from the 60s. The main character, Dink, spends too much time up front with his thoughts. Personally I find a lot of that to be boring. I prefer dialogue and action. Once he started to actually delve further into his memories it got a lot more interesting. Then I felt like I really got transported back to the 60s. I got to know Anna and the other characters. Overall a decent book.
I must have put this book down and restarted it at least ten times. It is well written, and I was curious about the relationships between certain characters, but it did not feel very original. It often reminded me of a movie I enjoyed, Eddie and the Cruisers. However, the movie was made much better by its sound track, and this book did not have a sound track. So basically, it is okay book, just not a book that makes me want to read more by this author.
This book took a bit to get into. It kind of felt like a female voice coming from a male character. After about 40 pages it got its ducks in a row and started getting into the story. It was interesting and I was able to get involved with the characters but it was definitely put-downable. Wouldn't read it again, but not sorry I read it once.
Free Friday Nook Book. The "musical novel" is an original idea, and it mostly works in this book - the author does a good job of getting you into the 1960s rock-n-roll girl-group vibe. The failure came at the end; the story of how Anna died was weak and too offhanded. But through most of the book I was entertained and felt the narration rang true to the times.
One of my free books. It was okay. Not great but okay. The girl group of the 60's the Anna's had a rapid rise to fame. And a tragic fall from fame. The book details their story of becoming sensations to troubled young ladies.
It took me awhile to start reading this, but I thought it was pretty darn good. Especially for fans of early rock and roll. Robert Dunn made a good decision to write a novel based on a subject he is interested in and I am sure the his other books are equally fun.
I really enjoyed this story of a 60's era girl group. Parts of it seemed a little overwrought, I think the reader can guess the character's big mystery long before the book reveals it, but still a very enjoyable book.
A story set in the present, but includes a flashback to the 1960s when girl groups were the hot new trend in music. It follows a writer and a group he worked with and his quest to be proven the author of a popular song.
The story is intriguing but not adequately fleshed out beyond the friendship of the original main characters, Dink and Princess. Anna and Trudy could have been written with so much more depth and complexity. A decent beach read but not as good as I'd hoped.
Not my typical kind of book, the term "musical novel" is what caught my attention and honestly, it was a free book. BUT I found myself enjoying the walk back in time. In love music and historical fiction so the combination of the two kept my attention to the end.mm
Meet the Annas chronicles the rise and fall of '60's girl group The Annas, their songwriters and their producers. The story starts in the late '90's as Dink Stephenson, one of the songwriters, goes to court to regain sole songwriting rights for his partner and himself for their '60's hits. Dink recounts the story as fame, secrets and tragedies unfold.
This was a freebie from Barnes and Noble Nook. I really liked it. Enjoyed the setting of early 60's New York and LA music scene. It was well written and I loved the characters. The book has a bit of everything - lost love, murder, mayhem and court room drama. It also really takes you into the making of a song. I have read some reviews about the cursing. I didn't find it a problem. Less cursing than what you would find on TV or on the streets or in our schools. The lead character - Dink Stephenson - is a believable character and I love how he tells us his story. It goes back and forth between the 60's to present day. I enjoy a book that puts a twist in time. Keeps you alert. And yes I would love to read more books by Robert Dunn.
Dink Stephenson is bringing up the dead in every way. He has filed a lawsuit claiming he and his partner, Princess Diamond were the only ones who wrote the last Anna's song "Love Will Cut You Like a Knife". But two of the players, Punky Solomon and Manny Gold, had their name on the disk all those years ago are getting royalties that dont belong to them. Anna has been dead and she held the only proof to the writing. Not only was Dink in love with Anna but so were Punky and Manny. The story takes twists and turns through their time in LA, just like the winding roads of Mullholland and Canyon. The truth will win out in the end but just like the song, it will cut you like a knife and leave you feeling raw.
There should be a new genre for this book. It's called a musical novel, but it seems so much more than that, and I loved it, couldn't put it down. It takes you back in time when Rock and Roll was young, and people like Carole King were really into their songwriting. The main character is a songwriter, who falls in love with Anna, the lead-singer of The Annas. There is so much to this book, humor, mystery, murder, music lore. The author has a real sense of the times (note: Anna has an affair with John Lennon!) I understand Robert Dunn has come out with other books that are "musical novels" and I'll be looking for them.
Definitely not the type of book I usually read, but was avaliable as Free Friday download on my Nook. I thought the story was quite interesting and probably very accurate for the situation and time period in which it took place, but the language was so awful. While most of the language was from dialog and not the narrator, it was a major over useage of the f-word. It is sad that for some people, that is the only word they can use to express themselves.
Another ho-hum Free Friday Nook book....this one is about a songwriter in a court case for rights to a song by a girl band. It goes back and forth from the present to the 60's. There was no character development in the story. The reader never gets to know what was so "enchanting" about "Anna" the main character as her true personality is never revealed. All that's written is about is her beauty and "cat's eyes."
I finally got around to reading this book, written by my publisher, Robert Dunn of Coral Press. This book, about an early '60s girl pop group, is wonderfully written and entertaining. It's a love story and a mystery wrapped around the heart and beat of a perfect three-minute pop song. I highly recommend it.
I loved this book. Definitely a must for fans of 60's music, girl groups and/or Dreamgirls. The writer brought back the sights and sounds of that magical time with many of the machinations involved in making a song a hit. Very well written and I really didn't want it to end. Will read author's other books for sure