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Bittersweet Symphony

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  48 reviews
In the concrete jungles of corporate New York, a skyscraper stands in a faded industrial brownfield. The Madson Tower, a place notorious for murders and cases of deadly negligence, has attracted the interests of CEO Tony Barone and his team of employees. Sure, the landlord might be a bit creepy, Tony's daughter might be seeing things that aren't real, but the cheap rental ...more
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published January 24th 2019 by Rebecca McNutt (first published September 11th 2017)
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4.40  · 
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 ·  53 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Tony Barone, an head of an advertising agency, found what he thought a good deal on the office. He rented 17th floor in a half-abandoned tower in Syracuse. Some time ago an occupant of this floor killed his co-workers in the most gruesome manner and committed suicide. Knowing about the mass murder Tony's lawyer dug deeper and her findings were even worth. Sufficient to say the tower was built on ancient burial grounds - and we all know what it means.
Burial ground

In the best tradition of horror genre Tony fl
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Madson Tower was a post-modern skyscraper in Syracuse, New York. It was built by Dahsol Inc. a company connected with the mafia. The company constructed buildings on cheap, undesirable land. Madson Tower, run by Thomas Madson, had been built on the site of a 1930's radium factory. In 2005, Tony Barone was determined to rent Floor 17. Bailey Lawrence Kane aka "Lawyer" was unable to dissuade Tony from renting this office space. "Madson Tower was infested with murder. Death and mayhem were woven in ...more
G.H. Eckel
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating story of a haunting in corporate America with elements of magic and the incredible thrown in. Seven characters intersect in this novel, each one working out past issues through many flashbacks, i.e., dealing with their "ghosts."

Tony Barone, an ad agency guy, finds a deal and rents the 17th floor of a sparsely populated skyscraper in Syracuse, NY. He comes to learn that a previous tenant murdered his co-workers in a grisly way and then committed suicide. Everyone who works
Briar's Reviews
This book was written in Nova Scotia, and as a Canadian I AM SO HAPPY I AM READING A CANADIAN BOOK. That cannot be understated - I love helping other Canadian authors out. It's so near and dear to my heart.

Rebecca McNutt's novel Bittersweet Symphony was an addicting read for me. Her descriptions and tone in her writing was something that just clicked with me. Her tone was somewhat professional, yet it worked so well within this novel. It almost sounded like the perfection my English teachers in
Nesly Clerge
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: author
Bittersweet Symphony, By Rebecca McNutt, is a mesmerizing and compelling tale chock-full of intriguing characters. Without divulging too much of the plot, Tony Barone is a determined, and ambitious ad executive with a goal in mind: Rent the seventeenth floor of Madson Tower, an architectural marvel. But there is something ominous and sinister about the space. Supposedly, a most gruesome series of events occurred on the seventeenth floor, but the horrid incidents did not prove to be a deterrent f ...more
Jack Chaucer
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"As they both walked further into the trees, they disappeared like a hazy mist over flowing water, two old friends who’d been waiting for four years to meet again. Papers were fluttering through the air, falling from the sky, the mundane poetry of office life snowing down like beautiful dancers." ... This riveting, beautifully descriptive story of a haunted tower and even more haunted people will stick with you long after you've read it for several reasons: 1. Bailey, the MC, is the rare lawyer ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Feb 18, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Since I wrote this book I'm not rating/reviewing it. This "review" is just a placeholder to note that I've read it.
Bill Lynas
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is an awful sense of foreboding in Rebecca McNutt's latest, & perhaps darkest, story. Like her previous work there is still an incredible maturity for such a young writer, & every character is vividly drawn.
Fictional tragedy blends with real life in one of her most powerful tales. She shows us that sometimes being caught up in the darker side of reality makes us all forget the simple & beautiful things in life. It's wonderful when a work of fiction makes you step back & app
Nesly Clerge
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bittersweet Symphony, By Rebecca McNutt, is a mesmerizing and compelling tale chock-full of intriguing characters. Without divulging too much of the plot, Tony Barone is a determined, and ambitious ad executive with a goal in mind: Rent the seventeenth floor of Madson Tower, an architectural marvel. But there is something ominous and sinister about the space. Supposedly, a most gruesome series of events occurred on the seventeenth floor, but the horrid incidents did not prove to be a deterrent f ...more
RM(Alwaysdaddygirl) Griffin (alwaysdaddyprincess)
Read this book!

This book is a mix of different themes mixed with weirdness. It is brilliantly done! I do not know the author but based on some of her blogs I read, I wonder if she is part of certain characters. It is none of my business. I love how the cover is caricature style for it is different.

The book talks about 9-11-2001 and other things. Many folks (not all) think that after a year of grief a person should be doing this or that now. It shows the dark naked truth on grief and there is no
Thomas Strömquist
True to her style, Rebecca McNutt presents us with another challenging and a bit unorthodox read. The haunted high-rise of the blurb does not have an obvious starring role, but rather serves as a back drop for a story that develops in unexpected ways. The author continues to process and try to comprehend the trauma that was 9/11. This is the absolute best part of the book. Especially chapter 9 is brilliant. My issues, again, lies in the dialogue for the most part. I often start from the characte ...more
SCORE!!! Got a free PDF from the author!

Plot: In the summer of 2005, Tony Barone is a skeptical, morbid advertising executive who divorced his wife, Ramona, and together they have a ten-year-old daughter, Selena Barone. Embittered by the death-by-overdose of his older brother, the racism he experienced while growing up in the Cabrini Green Housing Projects of Chicago, and his wife’s new successful doctor husband, Tony mocks all things serious and often makes distasteful dark humor jokes at the e
Greg Watson
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you don't own Bittersweet Symphony, take a moment to consider the poverty of your library. Order a copy as soon as possible.

Bittersweet Symphony is a creative blend of supernatural suspense, love, humor, and deep sadness. Much of the novel centers on the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the physical and emotional victims it claimed. There are deep reflections on life, death, and our reaction to the tragedy.

Much is made of how the noise of modern life prevents us from commu
Emm - One Thousand Years of Books
" 'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life. Trying to make ends meet, you're a slave to money then you die." - The Verve, "Bittersweet Symphony"

Bittersweet Symphony is just that - the first movement one of poignant but painful human trauma, with an intermezzo of creepy preternatural conspiracy, and a finale of absolution.

Freeing yourself from your past is one of the most daunting tasks that one can take on. We all have little skeletons that cling to us like helpless, jealous babies, constan
Luke Taylor
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It would be impossible to review Bittersweet Symphony without some context about the material, and its one-of-a-kind author, Rebecca McNutt. When compared to the rest of her canon, Bittersweet Symphony stands out for the sheer power of its tangible emotion and heartfelt artistic realism, as it spreads across the many themes it so deftly covers. Rebecca poured all of her heart and soul into this special book about grief, loss, memory, PTSD, and everything that represents a light at the end of the ...more
Phyliss Proctor
I'm hyperventilating right now at the fact that a nineteen-year-old wrote this. Bittersweet Symphony is dark. As in, so dark that your emotions will want to jump out the window. Somebody needs to stamp the front cover with a trigger warning.
Lin Koujo
The plot of this book is a straightforward ghost type thing, nothing special, but wait for it, trust me. It's worth it, but if you can't handle dark stuff, you might want to steer clear of Bittersweet Symphony.
Bob Morse
During an email chat with the author, I was saddened to find that her reasons for writing this novella go deeper than I initially realized. Bittersweet Symphony, from her words, is an allegorical story of coping with tragedy throughout history, especially in a post-9/11 America, which she herself grew up in. It's a taboo subject but she handles it beautifully, and it's both painful and poetic to read, especially considering that one of the characters in this book has been severely affected by it ...more
Eli Connors
I get to be one of the editors for this novella! It's SOOOOOOO sad though, had to stop halfway through cuz it made me cry, but all the characters are so sweet, too! Love Dora's "fattitude" and the mystery of Tony Barone's lackey - er, I mean, his lawyer - lotta fun reading this, and just in time for September the 11th, too.
Yuki Burton
2005, Syracuse, New York. Ever been? Neither have I.

The weather is described as balmy and sultry (eww, sticky), but hey, that's summer. A little girl, Selena, was sent home from school for biting a classmate. Her divorced parents, a rich and ruthless ad-man and a lady working on a journalism degree, are constantly feuding. On a small patch of tainted, haunted land sits a postmodern glass tower that has the power to psychologically warp its own inhabitants for the worst. A record is about to be b
Amy Ingalls
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book in a giveaway. This book was not at all what I expected. The characters were broken, each dealing with tragedies and hardships in their lives. The descriptions of 9/11 were truly heartbreaking. I would recommend reading this book if you're looking for something different. It will make you think, and the images will stick with you long after you read it.
Sarah MacMillan
I didn't think Bittersweet Symphony would be my cup of tea at first. I'm primarily a horror reader, and while the book is classified as horror, the cover artwork seemed to say otherwise. It resembles a Disney movie poster. From the 1st chapter I was instantly hooked though, and the mix of wholly unpleasant characters grew on me. As the motives for their bad attitudes are slowly revealed, it becomes clear that there's more to these 7 main players than meets the eye. Weirder still is the age of th ...more
Erin Bee
I loved this! It was original and well-written (I'm beyond impressed that the author was only 19 years old... and from Atlantic Canada! Represent!), entertaining and meaningful. I really enjoyed the descriptive style, the mix of complex and flawed characters, and how the story was sad and horrific but also full of love and hope... with a supernatural twist. I also appreciated the playlist of songs that was interspersed throughout, which added to the atmosphere and filled me with nostalgia (the K ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book by a young Canadian author tells the story of seven very flawed characters who come to work in a high rise building with a reputation for employee deaths through several years. The book reminds the reader of what happened in the USA on 9/11/01, intermixed with the rumors of the Madson building being haunted and with a very nasty past. This past includes a history of female workers being poisoned by radium, a realtor who killed all his employees and then himself, among other gruesome st ...more
George Billions
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bittersweet Symphony is an easy afternoon read about an ad agency moving into a near-abandoned building with a morbid history. Sure, a lot of people have died in myriad gruesome ways, but rent's cheap. The creepy tower provides a nice backdrop for the intertwining personal stories of each of the characters. You get some tragedy, some horror, and a few uplifting moments, too. My only complaint is that I've had the strings part of that song stuck in my head since I finished reading, and I don't th ...more
Rick Sanchez
I just love cobwebs of interconnected characters. This was the first book that made me actually cry, though. Not sure what to make of that. And that part with the Lawyer and her client was scary as f*ck, and sad, very sad. Poor Bailey, I wanted to hug her even though she's fiction. Also, kudos to Rebecca for writing about an asexual main character and handling the sensitive topic of 9/11 with respect and dignity.
Jane Bates
This book differs from most of McNutt's other novels, and it's undoubtedly superb writing, but I can't bring myself to rate it five stars because it made me so f*cking sad. No spoilers I promise, but be prepared to go through an entire box of Kleenex while reading.
Rubin Vaughn
Some people will admire Northern author Rebecca McNutt's postmodern gothic novel, and others will despise it. The way I see it, neither view matters as long as you can understand it.

This book's slick modernism reflects the go-go Nineties era, that hectic corporate period between '95 and 2008, the infamous dissolution of Wall Street. Set in the glass skyscrapers of Syracuse, it introduces a number of characters fueled mostly by ambition, each one of them participants of an ad agency located withi
Jeff Chicken
I'm very proud to be a beta-reader for this novella. Instead of the usual Canadian-set fiction of Rebecca McNutt's, most of which heavily leans on the use of past technological formats and the fear of the future, Bittersweet Symphony (named after the iconic song by The Verve), doesn't really have a theme of anything specific. Set in Syracuse in the summer of 2005, it seems to be speaking of a surreal, psychologically-ingrained corporate culture mentality in the minds and actions of a man and his ...more
Wanda Raine Hedare
This book is hard to define in words. It had a similar style to Twin Peaks or Kingdom Hospital, which I loved, making this disturbing supernatural story an exciting read, but there was one painfully jarring past story on the book's back-burner being gradually brought out, which made me leave this book with only three stars. It's not that it was bad, but more that it was too sad and realistic for its own good. I was staying up at night thinking about it, and well, have you ever read about a chara ...more
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There's not a lot to say about me, really. Born in 1998, I'm a student by day, fiction author on the side, certified as a library technician and studying to be a lawyer one day. I'm a graduate of the Nova Scotia Community College (I attended from 2016 to 2018), currently majoring in Law, Justice and Society (BA) and studying law and politics at Dalhousie University. I've published many books under ...more
“Again we have the problem that whether you’re moral or not is a matter of whether it's cost-effective.” 47 likes
“Bernie believed in God. He believed that God wanted people to enjoy life to the fullest, not drench themselves in aversion and prejudice.” 35 likes
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