Stevie Carroll's Reviews > A Song for a New Day

A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker
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it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed-elsewhere

Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

There’ve been times recently, usually when I’ve been following the news a little too closely, that I wonder whether we’re all wandering unwittingly into a dystopian future of our own making. And that’s exactly what happens in this novel where fear of potential threats, rather than any current danger, has all but confined people to their homes, with almost all interactions taking place virtually and most essential needs being catered for by drone delivery services. Told from two points of view along separate, intersecting timelines, we get to see what happens when a government’s knee-jerk reaction to a terror threat, followed by an unrelated disease outbreak, becomes the accepted way of life for people who had been living in a world not far removed from our present.

Luce Cannon is an up-and-coming music sensation before the world suddenly changes, touring medium-sized venues with a hired backing band, and tipped for bigger stardom in years to come. When a terror threat forces guests from their hotels, Luce puts on an impromptu concert in the car park. Then, the following night, the threatened bombings of stadiums becomes a reality, and Luce’s band becomes the last to play live in front of a large audience. Returning home to wait for the threat to die down, and for theatres to reopen, Luce has to face a second catastrophe in the form of a highly contagious infection, which kills indiscriminately, and leaves survivors heavily scarred. Luce does what she can to help those affected, while, increasingly, money starts to come in from her record sales. Eventually she realises that life is unlikely to return to what she calls normal anytime soon, even after the terrorists and the infection have been quashed, and uses her royalty payments to support other artists who still want to play to live audiences, despite the ban on gatherings of more than a very few people.

Fast-forward a decade or so and to Rosemary Laws, who has grown up knowing nothing of live music or of attending school in any way other than online. Working in a customer services job from the safety of her bedroom, Rosemary first becomes aware of the outside world through being gifted a ticket to a virtual concert by one of the bands performing on the biggest music network. Rosemary is overwhelmed by her experience, and soon finds herself recruited by the network as a talent scout, seeking out musicians and bands who are currently playing only for friends or in illegal basement concerts, and offering them contracts with her employer. All too soon, Luce and Rosemary’s worlds collide and both have to figure out what is most important to them about how music is shared and disseminated.

I loved this book. Both our protagonists were lesbians, and there were plenty of other LGBT+ characters in their lives, but there was no big romance for either of them, and that made their choices all the more poignant and meaningful. Having one protagonist reflect on her Jewish heritage and what it meant to her in times of trouble was a bonus. The two plot arcs were all too believable, as were the dilemmas both women faced if they were to be true to themselves and to their friends, while striving to make the world a more open one for musicians, artists, and fans alike. An excellent first novel and now I want to track down some of the author’s short stories while waiting for her to produce more longer works.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October, 2019 – Finished Reading
October 3, 2019 – Shelved
October 3, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed-elsewhere

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