Great review of my novel, The Flowers Lied, went live at the online magazine, Ragazine, March 13, 2016. Here’s an image of it but link to the site to read it. (By the way, the book is available here.)
Reviewer M. Sedlof writes:
It’s not easy to go through life driven by an intense desire to be part of a scene that really doesn’t think it needs you. Such is the quandary of Michael Stein in The Flowers Lied, Part Two of the Freak Scene Trilogy by Michael Goldberg that began with True Love Scars. After suffering ritualistic tribulations of young love in Scars, Stein (aka, Writerman), returns to the college scene older, wiser, increasingly hell-bent on becoming the rock ‘n’ roll writer of his dreams.
The Flowers Lied is the second book of my rock ‘n’ roll, coming-of-age Freak Scene Dream Trilogy.
Sedlof ends his review: “So looking forward to part three.”
Praise for the Freak Scene Dream Trilogy,
including “The Flowers Lied”
“There was a time when (rock) music was the living pulse of a generation, when wanting to be a rock critic was a credible dream. That is the era of the Freak Scene Dream Trilogy, an ambitious and ultimately successful attempt at recasting the coming-of-age-in-the-wake-of-the-sixties-experience in innovative but authentic language, Kerouac in the 21st century. It jitters around in ever-accumulating fine detail that traces young love and desire and the pure true heart of the era, the music. It was a pivotal time, and Volume II, ‘The Flowers Lied,’ captures it.” DENNIS MCNALLY, author of “A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead” and “Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation & America”
“If Lester Bangs had ever published a novel it might have read something like this frothing debut by longtime music journalist Michael Goldberg… Readers from any musical era will come away with a deeper appreciation of how nostalgia can shape our lives, for better and for worse.” COLIN FLEMING, Rolling Stone
“Goldberg presents us with a beautiful evocation of the Seventies where the music wasn’t just the soundtrack to our lives but the auteur of them. Writerman, our hero, drinks and drugs and dances to the nightingale tune while birds fly high by the light of the moon. Oh, oh, oh, oh Writerman!” LARRY RATSO SLOMAN, author of “On the Road with Bob Dylan”
“Michael Goldberg is comparable to Kerouac in a 21st century way, someone trying to use that language and energy and find a new way of doing it.” MARK MORDUE, author of “Dastgah: Diary of a Head Trip”
“Penned in a staccato amphetamine grammar, its narrative is fractured and deranged, often unsettling but frequently compelling, an unsparing portrait of the teen condition: assured then despairing, would-be sex god then impotent has-been, an only child battling the wills of his domineering father and interfering mom in the anonymous, suburban fringes of Marin County.” SIMON WARNER, author of “Text and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture”
“Aspiring rock journalist Michael Stein (aka Writerman) returns in the second installment of Goldberg’s Freak Scene Dream Trilogy, picking up the narrative where he left off and fumbling his way across the countercultural landscape of the early Seventies like some less jaded, wannabe-hippie version of Holden Caulfield. This slightly-older-but-not-necessarily-wiser Stein, along with his inner circle of equally confused post-adolescents, is more fleshed-out as a character than in the previous (though superb) ‘True Love Scars.’ As a result the scenarios he finds himself thrust into, not to mention the occasional disaster of his own making, ring with an additional authenticity that will leave anyone who lived through the same era nodding with recognition. Some will even fidget uncomfortably in their seats, as I did—credit to Goldberg’s keen ability to channel his/our own misspent youth while sketching a series of remarkably believable portraits.
“Among the more memorable scenes: a hamfisted attempt to get his rock journalism published in the college newspaper, even more awkward attempts to get laid (that include at least one success, with his best friend’s girlfriend, no less, in a gondola at the top of a Ferris wheel), getting thrown out of a Neil Young concert by one of Bill Graham’s goons, navigating a surreal Halloween party while peaking on LSD, and kibitzing with a popular Lester Bangs-esque rock-crit. Along the way we get cameos from Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Captain Beefheart, the New York Dolls, Slim Harpo, James Brown, John Fowles, Sartre, Dostoyevsky and Godard. Settle in, crack open a bottle and/or spark a doob, and get ready for an emotional rollercoaster ride. Oh, and don’t touch the Thorens.” FRED MILLS, editor, Blurt magazine
“So who is this protagonist anyway? Holden Caulfield meets Lord Buckley?” PAUL KRASSNER, author of “Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture”
“‘True Love Scars’ reads like a fever dream from the dying days of the Summer of Love. Keyed to a soundtrack of love and apocalypse, Writerman pitches headlong into a haze of drugs, sex and confusion in search of what no high can bring: his own redemption. Read it and be transformed.” ALINA SIMONE, musician, author of “Note to Self” and “You Must Go and Win”
“A gonzo look back at misspent youth in the 1960s… It’s a crackling good read, filled with humor, pathos, drug use and Dylan references (seriously, I think there’s one on every page). Goldberg’s freewheelin’ style captures a certain late Sixties/early 70s vibe (think the autobiographical writings of Lester Bangs) that makes ‘True Love Scars’ a pleasure through and through.” TYLER WILCOX, Doom & Gloom From The Tomb
“There never was a Seventies. They never existed. You could, however, construct a reasonably functional Seventies love-doll, inflating it (you guessed right) with canned or frozen Sixties sexual effluvium. Fill it fat, saggy or shapeless—your call. CAREFUL: there will be some broken glass and flammable scum. Shards of chthonic Romance—whew—as radioactive as Godzilla. Only the BOLD need apply. Whoops—beware!—Mr. Goldberg has been there first, and ‘had’ her first. Reader-side litrachoor is often a matter of 2nd in line. Bon appétit!” RICHARD MELTZER, author of “The Aesthetics of Rock” and “Tropic of Nipples”
“Just call it a portrait of the rock critic as a young freakster bro, coming of age in the glorious peace-and-love innocence of the Sixties dream, only to crash precipitously, post-Altamont into the drug-ridden paranoia of the Seventies, characterized by the doom and gloom of the Stones’ sinister “Sister Morphine” and the apocalyptic caw-caw-caw of a pair of ubiquitous crows.” ROY TRAKIN, Trakin Care of Business column
“[His] passion for the counterculture and the music that informed it shines bright in Goldberg’s semi-autobiographical novel, ‘True Love Scars’… the novel is a whirlwind tale of a young music fanatic’s [Writerman] quest for true love, high times and “the authentic real” (not necessarily in that order). … [Goldberg] narrates most of the tale with a retrospective viewpoint, which enables the reader to empathize more with Writerman’s youthful mistakes and sometimes naïve viewpoints. Writerman is wiser now, but he wants us to see how it all went down, because there’s meaning in the journey. … Goldberg develops a unique voice as he flashes back and forth, mostly between 1965 and 1972. The literary gold is in the details. The novel is filled with colorful references about the bands and songs that bring out the halcyon days of that influential era. … True Love Scars is deeply dialed in to rock’s dichotomy of enlightening powers versus stonered party time.” GREG M. SCHWARTZ, PopMatters
“Michael’s written quite a series of novels about the early Seventies and the death of the Sixties and the rock ’n’ roll dream. I think they’re very good. I’ve never seen a novel talk about Feminism and the Seventies like his Freak Scene Dream Trilogy does. Plus he’s a total rock ’n’ roll geek. He knows everything about everybody. Believe me, every detail from Captain Beefheart to the New York Dolls. Bob Dylan is God. And a straight guy with a raging sexual agenda searching for his ‘Visions of Johanna chick.’ It’s a terrific read.” TOM SPANBAUER, author of “Faraway Places,” “Now Is the Hour” and “I Loved You More”
“Goldberg’s virginal sex scenes unwind at the same racing-heart-awkward-self-conscious-anxious pace one can almost remember from those good old, bad old days when the forbidden fruit was all one ever wanted…” M. SELDOF, Ragazine.CC
“Michael Goldberg reminds us of the difficulties of remaining true to our own visions amidst the powerful exigencies of young adulthood. He paints crazy intimate portraits of the excesses and eccentricities of the sexual revolution. And he speaks to us in the voice and language of the brave microculture of his youth. In this, he opens a door to the rough adolescence of our own ‘grown up’ disillusioned macroculture. All the dreams and wishes and bright energy buried therein is still brawling for a release. Our inner teenager still wonders what the fuck we think we are doing. To hear a voice from this realm is a blessing. Goldberg makes of himself a channel from that forbidden country. Through his recounting, we remember how we learned to love, how we learned to listen, and how we learned to do whatever it is we do best.” JOLIE HOLLAND, recording artist, whose albums include Catalpa, Escondida and The Living and the Dead
The Flowers Lied. Available at Amazon now.
(By the way, the book is available here.)