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3.11  ·  Rating details ·  732 ratings  ·  150 reviews
Anna Brundage is a rock star. She is tall and sexy, with a powerhouse voice and an unforgettable mane of red hair. She came out of nowhere, an immediate indie sensation. And then, life happened.Anna went down as fast as she went up, and then walked off the scene for seven years. Without a record deal or clamoring fans, she sells a piece of her famous father’s art to financ ...more
Hardcover, 242 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2014)
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Average rating 3.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  732 ratings  ·  150 reviews

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May 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book about an indie rocker taking a second chance at greatness. However i found it too meandering, at times pretentious, but mostly sparse in the telling of what could have been a compelling story. Its too short. You never get at the heart of what drives her. You feel like it may be her boho upbringing and her connection to her famours artist father but she never sheds enough light on the past - just tiny glimpses. In a lot ways I feel the same way about this heroine ...more
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stacey D'Erasmo is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She is dependably - though not predictably (thank god!) - good. Actually, very good. Wonderland is about the difficulties of making art and of artists making a life. The characters are flawed. The relationships are messy. Things are left unfinished. In other words, D'Erasmo knows how to give us a piece of someone else's life, perhaps not in all its particularity, but with enough well chosen and beautifully written details to make us ...more
Larry H
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Full disclosure: I received an advance readers copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Anna Brundage is a rock musician. While she never was an enormous star, her band's first album made an impact in the music world, and people still talk about it. The second album didn't do so well, and by the third album, she had thrown her chance away, lost in a haze of drugs, insecurity, and a lack of dedication. Her tempestuous affair with a married man she met on one of her tour
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The reviews for this one were huge. "Told in the voice of a female rock Ulysses!" says O Magazine (which, by the way, "female rock Ulysses" is my new aspiration in life). Lev Grossman, my main squeeze of a reviewer, called it a "seedy, sexy spectacle of life on the road." SOLD! GIMME! INSTANTLY DOWNLOADED!

But it was just meh. Like, really meh. I appreciated the honesty with which the author depicted being an adult with a history of youthful artistic achievement from which you have never since be
Dec 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
Anna is a forty-four year old rock star, who had a big hit at one point but whose career then fizzled out. She is now trying to make a comeback. This story chronicles her time past and present trying to make her career as a rock star work while entertaining hit and miss relationships on the road and getting caught up in drugs and drinking.

I like music a lot so I thought this might be an interesting book to read, but it really wasn't. It was boring, and I didn't really care about what happened t
Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books
In fact, I was in wonderland then, but only in some hazy amber of memory. At the time, I wasn’t anywhere. I was reaching for the train as it disappeared, flash of silver, around a curve. Now I’m trying to go back to a place I’ve never been.

Anna is a rock star. Not the classic variety but the indie variety. On her way to the top, with a record deal in hand and three albums to her name, she stepped off the ladder and went silent, but now she’s back, in Europe launching a new tour. Wonderland is S
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I just finished Stacey D’Erasmo’s Wonderland, which follows one-time indie darling Anna Brundage on her hopeful comeback tour. The novel zigzags from the present tour to her past and back again, especially her artist father and the long but slowly weakening shadow he casts as artist and inspiration. The book’s most wonderful passages are all about music, how it feels to play it, to soar in it, to struggle for it and sometimes to fail at reproducing that elusive shimmer you first heard in the bra ...more
Mona Lisa
From BBC "The 10 best books 2014":

"It's hard not to think of the irreplaceable Patti Smith when reading this profound and impressionistic novel, in which a rock star’s comeback tour becomes a meditation on performance, ambition, loves lost and found, the passage of time and the sparks that create art. As indie rocker Anna Brundage hits the road again in the Christiania district of Copenhagen, she is haunted by memories of past triumphs: “Music is quicksilver, gossamer; careers are measured in bu
Sandra Lambert
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I so appreciate a book that pulls off the perfect ending - and this one does.
Nikki Stafford
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in a used bookstore, and had never heard of it before (I'd picked it up because I'll grab anything that I think might be associated with Alice in Wonderland). And while it didn't have anything to do with the childhood favourite, the title is still well chosen. Anna is an indie rock star who had a big hit in the early 2000s, and was a hit with all the underground kids. She put out two more albums before disappearing from the limelight. Now she's 42 and is hitting the road again ...more
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, 2014-books
i just don't know about this one...i do know that if books could reproduce this book would be the lovechild of jennifer egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad and rachel kushner's The Flamethrowers.

BUT...i was 'meh' on egan's, and loved kushner's. d'erasmo was more egan than kushner. 'wonderland' had great potential, but i don't feel like d'erasmo really got there with her book.

this novel was kinda clunky, and felt disjointed. generally i enjoy stories that move about in time (not scifi time trave
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Solidly crafted literary work from a female rockers perspective. Innovative and ingenious. D'Erasmo submerges the reader into the depths of Anna's tour, music and comeback. An artsy edge with a gritty grainy past and present of a middle aged rocker hoping for a second chance. The reader feels a true sense of the challenges females face in the music industry, especially from the mature age of Anna.

"Music is quicksilver, gossamer; careers are measured in butterfly lifetimes. My butterfly life e
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-books-read
Anna Brundage, the 44 year old daughter of two artists, grew up in a bohemian life style all over the world. It is not completely surprising then, that she develops her own brand of creativity in music, and her life seems to retain that bohemian quality. Aside from her small apartment in New York, her erstwhile job teaching young girls to build things, her sister's much more settled life, and her now remarried mother, Anna seems to have few ties to the world most of us know. Seven years earlier, ...more
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was ok

This book is the opposite of rock and roll. The formal and stylistic choices in language might lend themselves to a novel about a viola player or the Brodsky Quartet, not a semi-rock band or whatever they call themselves. The bit about songwriting - the note beyond the note, the note not heard - seems condescending.

The main character seems like a hologram. No, not Jem and the Holograms, that would actually be cool. You can barely catch the form, and maybe some interest, but no, here she goes sl
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
I really enjoyed this book. It made you wonder what all was going on inside the heroine's mind. Like where she was headed and what her thoughts were all about.
It's a fairly quick read if you have plenty of time on your hands. I hope to see more from this same author.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Here we get a fictional autobiography of sorts about Anna Brundage. We learn about her hippie childhood and her rock star lifestyle. She ends up having to choose between touring the world or giving up music as her primary career and settling into teaching wood shop to schoolgirls. D'Erasmo's writing style is similar to that of Rachel Kushner. The characters might be off in far-flung destinations and high most of the time, but they also seem very familiar--and I think that's a testament to how we ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stacey D’Erasmo’s new novel WONDERLAND is about second chances at life and at love. It examines the life of Anna Brundage. Anna is a 44 year old rock star that hasn’t had a hit in a decade. She sells a piece of her father’s famous art to finance her comeback tour across Europe. The novel floats back and forth in time as interesting characters float in and out of Anna’s life. Along the way Anna has several unconventional encounters with men and ultimately finds a second chance at love. D’Erasmo’s ...more
Barry Wightman
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In her quietly electric new novel Wonderland, Stacey D’Erasmo explores that vast, forever green territory - the mystery of art. And in Anna Brundage, D’Erasmo has created a powerful presence, a “too-tall red-headed woman with bangs who rides her bike to school from the East Village.” The child of an infamously artistic father, progeny of the counter-culture, now forty-four, Anna has been trying, without much success, to follow-up her much-acclaimed first record of 2002, “Whale.” Wonderland is ab ...more
Peter Rock
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Granted, I'm a longtime fan of Stacey D'Erasmo. One of the things I like best about her work is that it's so unpredictable, book to book. What is known: the intelligence, the sharpness of the language. Here she does the impossible, capturing music with words, and also writing about the invisible sources and energies upon which an artist draws. Anna B. is a character like no other, full of yearning, unapologetic. And I admire how this story captures so much time--its structure is magnificent at s ...more
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gender, 2014
Some really beautiful writing and thoughtfulness to scenes. It's also interesting and lovely to read about an aging female protagonist.

"For Berlin I wear black stockings, and my hair has been done up by a tiny man with muttonchops: it is pomaded into a 1940s twist. Thick, shiny red lipstick. The overall effect is of a theatrical decadence that isn't really sexy; it only references sex, references decadence. Real sex is curled up, dusty, within its citations, like a figure from Pompeii."

Xe Sands
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: project-reads
Man, D'Erasmo has quite a voice. This is going to be the most delicious challenge to narrate.

Having read, then lived through this book backwards, sideways and upside down while voicing it...all I can say is, Holy Mary Mother of...

D'Erasmo has an exquisite style. I hope that readers will truly open to Anna's journey and just let it carry them along, without trying to analyze it or force it into compliance along the way.

Trust me, it will be worth it.
May 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-read
Women writing about rock & roll is just about my favorite thing on the planet. It’s one of my eternal quests, to find and read all the books written by women about rock and roll, and if that book happens to be a novel? All my pleasure centers start to tingle. So it’s kind of disappointing that Stacey D’Erasmo’s Wonderland, didn’t leave me sated and dreamy-eyed with love. Read more.
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very well done novel about a 40 something female rock singer back on the comeback trail on a tour of Europe I this decade. Erasmo weaves back and forth across time. Her descriptions of touring and playing music struck this non musician as accurate, a great little travelogue of Europe liked this better then the Michael Cunningham novel and look forward to reading more of her work.

Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
The premise -- aging indie rocker uses her life savings to mount one last world tour -- is kind of great, and for the most part, it was fun to read about a world I know nothing about. Unfortunately, this world was also pretty boring a lot of the time, and involved a lot of sex with unattractive-sounding old guys.
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Ehh...I didn't really understand the point of this book. There wasn't really a story and I couldn't understand the main character's motivation. For the most part, a waste of time. 1.5 stars just because it wasn't awful.
Courtney Maum
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Reviewed it for my "Celebrity Book Review" column on Electric Literature, here:
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Not for impatient readers! It's a non-linear and puzzling and mysterious and intriguing and many-layered and intricate tale. Ultimately, interesting, in the best sense of the word.
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I love love love D'Erasmo's writing, but I was a bit bored with the characters and the way this book dragged on. I skimmed the last 1/3.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
After the silliness of Daisy and the Six, I wanted to read a really good rock n roll novel and remembered I had this on my shelf. (I started reading it in a bookstore in Seattle and got hooked.) Wonderland is profound and poetic. You get the minutiae of the tour, the hotel rooms, the rented houses, the cocaine-fueled recording sessions, the sleeping around, the drinking and drinking—"I drink my drink as if what I want is a drink between breakfast and lunch."—but it's never presented in some pris ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be an engaging novel. I really enjoyed the protagonist Anna, as she confronts multiple issues such as her purpose in life, her romantic and familial relationships, and her career, all as he approaches middle age. D'Erasmo alternates between the past and present to try to give us context regarding Anna and her choices. I also liked the character development of Anna and her father, both artists (one musical one visual), bur both struggling with the challenges of creativity. I found ...more
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Stacey D’Erasmo is the author of the novels Tea, (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year); and A Seahorse Year (a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year and a Lambda Literary Award winner). Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and Ploughshares. She is currently an assistant professor of writing at Columbia University.
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“We were those girls, the artist’s daughters, the mermaids, the ones with long, tangled hair who did what they wanted. Inside, always, we knew we were free." - Stacey D'Erasmo” 2 likes
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