From award-winning blues scholar and musician Adam Gussow, a taut, sexy first novel about the summer busking scene in Europe and a pair of wild-hearted young men who make a pitch for fame and glory, finding a girl or two along the way.
Busker's Holiday is the story of McKay Chernoff, a Columbia University grad student with a harmonica in his pocket and a blues band in his background. Desolate and despairing after a disastrous romantic breakup, McKay decides to fly off to Paris and reinvent himself as a street performer.
What follows is an epic summer voyage into the busking life, propelled by the mad exploits of Billy Lee Grant, a fearless young guitar shredder whose Memphis-to-Mississippi pedigree and Dylanesque surrealism make him, when he explodes into view, precisely the partner McKay has been yearning for.
Burning like a latter-day Dean Moriarty, Bill goads McKay into a sun-drenched, all-night bender, stoked by wine, women, mushrooms, and trains, that careens down out of Avignon and across the French Riviera. What happens next--in Florence, Solingen, Amsterdam, Paris--is a story of purgatory, redemption, and love regained. Hope, in a word, as a modern troubadour returns from his wanderings, reborn.
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Adam Gussow is an associate professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi and a professional blues harmonica player and teacher. He is the author of three books on the blues, including Mister Satan's Apprentice: A Blues Memoir, the story of his experience as a Harlem street musician.Review:
"...Gussow outdoes himself with the novel's revolving cast of unique characters, whose crazy times and back stories are endlessly entertaining. The novel is about the trip of a lifetime, going to Europe to forget everything, but it's also a story of friendship, helped tremendously by Gussow's ear for music and dialogue. A strongly written, cool novel about being young, bluesy, and free on a vagabond adventure in Europe."--Kirkus Reviews
"Gussow takes you on an unforgettable trip filled with colorful characters, raging hormones, sexual tension, young men's Sturm und Drang, music, and more music....As a European who was himself a busker in the streets, alleys and market squares in Europe in the 1970s, this reviewer was fascinated by the vividly accurate and realistic settings, drenched in rich descriptions of scene and place."--Frank Matheis, TheCountryBlues.com
"Busker's Holiday is strung between espressos and bluesy harmonica poetry, a linguistic tour-de-force dancing like rain drops on the Paris streets."-- Paul Maher, Jr., author of Kerouac: The Definitive Biography
"An exhilarating read, Busker's Holiday reads like a Beat Generation novel for a new generation. What makes Busker's Holiday really move and inspire is how positive Gussow is about everything thrown his way. The book is refreshing in its absolute devotion to a life fully lived. In the present moment of 'likes' and 'shares' taking the place of real experience, Gussow's enthusiasm is at once old school and greatly welcomed today."--Self-Publishing Review, 5 Stars
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