It’s Only Rock and Roll is the first anthology of fiction ever published that deals exclusively with the intoxicating urgency, iconic power, and even disturbing, underside of rock music, arguably the most influential art form of the past fifty years. In pieces that range from the wildly comic to the achingly poignant, from surreal tales of excess to small moments of human joy and pathos, these twenty-two stories — by some of the most exciting American writers currently at work — celebrate the many sides of rock and roll and its remarkable cultural impact.
Among the many gems here are Lee K. Abbott’s wild portrait of a delusional, megalomaniacal rock star on his comeback; Lance Olsen’s apocalyptic vision of a rock and roll future; T. Coraghessan Boyle’s wryly comic depiction of a recently deceased guitarist trying to find his way to “rock and roll heaven” (via just about every kind of musical heaven imaginable); Kathleen Warnock’s wistful tale of a schoolteacher in the 1980s who meets the real Elvis (for those of you who wondered, he is indeed alive and well, and traveling through the South in a beat-up Cadillac); Janice Eidus’s hip romance between a fifties doo-wop singer and his high-school sweetheart; Lucinda Ebersole’s fine riff on Kafka’s Metamorphosis, in which a “nineties guy” named Sammy wakes up one morning as a sixties moptop Beatle; and Geoffrey Becker’s moving story of a road trip taken by a guitar-playing father and his teenage son, a journey on which they learn the real meaning of the blues.
Also included are pieces by Madison Smartt Bell, Rochelle Ratner, François Camoin, Bruce Jay Friedman, Jill McCorkle, and ten other comparable talents.
As diverse and exciting as the music that inspired it, It’s Only Rock and Roll is both a great collection of fiction and a fresh approach to one of the most enduring, riveting, and creative musical forms of our time.