Becca's Reviews > Needle in the Groove

Needle in the Groove by Jeff Noon
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's review
Mar 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: read-2012
Read from March 02 to 06, 2012

Having read several other of Noon's books, I found this one very different but no less enjoyable. Instead of creating a whole new imaginary world (as in Vurt etc), this is a tale based around a real Manchester, drawing inspiration from five decades of a genre-spanning music scene, focusing mainly on punk and the death thereof. The book is still touched with fantasy but it is more of a means to an end rather than the main thrust of the book. It is set in our normal world and the fantasy element (I won't give away any details) allows the characters to explore themselves, their music and the past.
It is written in, what I find to be, an amazing style, though I can see how some people might struggle with it. There is little punctuation/ the phrases instead being separated by slashes/ these give the book a sort of digital feel/ and at the same time/ the feeling of reading inside someone's head/ their thoughts put straight down on paper/ instead of being thought over and tidied up first. See what I mean?
The book is full of music and the descriptions of songs blew my mind, particularly when King Crimson happened to come on the radio while I was reading. After a chapter where, perhaps, the band meet up to rehearse, there will be a page long chapter 'describing' ('writing' or 'telling' might be better verbs here) the song itself in beautiful, exploding, starbursts streaming over the riffs, poetry that I think can only be fully appreciated by someone who really appreciates music, whatever your chosen genre.
All in all, this is a book about music and musicians; how they come to be and how they often come to end.

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