Titel: Never Mind Nirvana: A Novel
Zustand: Very Good
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"Hip deep in music, Never Mind Nirvana is a telling inside view that perfectly captures the rhythms and sights of late-nineties Seattle."
— Peter Buck, guitarist of R.E.M.
Pete Tyler is at a crossroads. Eight years ago he dropped out of a seminal Seattle grunge band to try his hand at a more grown-up calling. Now he's thirty-six ("almost forty!"), a deputy prosecutor (a suit), still hanging out at the same clubs he played ten years ago (the ones that haven't shut down), and still dating the same kind of girls (except now they tell him how much their older sisters loved his band).
Pete decides it's time to get married—he just doesn't know to whom. Possibilities include Beth, his first love, who has disappeared; Winter, his on-and-off stripper girl-friend, who has been living the grunge life too long; and Esme´, a Sub Pop A&R executive who has some life decisions of her own to make. When a date-rape case lands on his desk—the accused is a local rocker Pete's age, the accuser an eighteen-year-old from the scene—Pete finds his past and present facing him from both sides of the aisle, and he finally has to decide where he stands.
Pete Tyler is a cooler version of Everyguy, and Never Mind Nirvana is a hilarious and unexpectedly moving story of a man with one foot stuck in adolescence and the other planted in adulthood. Richly textured with references to classic rock and the music of Seattle's legendary alternative rock scene, it is also a fascinating, bittersweet riff on a particularly American zeitgeist.
Twentysomething New York had its Bright Lights, Big City. Pre-grad L.A. had its Less Than Zero. And now thirtysomething, post-grunge Seattle has its Never Mind Nirvana (a less-than-clever twist on the title of a seminal album). In Mark Lindquist's third novel, we find Peter Tyler at a crossroads. He's traded in his gig as a bassist with a quasi-successful grunge band for a respectable career in law. Instead of flannel he wears suits, and instead of taking the bus he zips around town in a Volvo. Emotionally, however, this paragon of maturity is still a kid: he hangs in the same bars, treats women merely as potential conquests (only now he's dating the little sisters of the strippers and groupies who used to notch his bedpost), and still slips the same old CDs onto his stereo.
In the midst of this adolescent purgatory, a date-rape case lands on Peter's desk, and he finds himself prosecuting an old rock-star friend for committing an act he himself may have committed in the past. Time to grow up? Unfortunately not: throughout Never Mind Nirvana, the intricacies and ambiguities of the case often take a backseat to Tyler's drunken angst. When his hero is grappling with the grayest, most subtle aspects of the trial, Lindquist does imbue him with a certain depth and compassion. Otherwise, his novel can seem a mere exercise in name-dropping: the washed-up rock stars who populate Seattle's nightlife, the bartenders who serve their scotch, and the bouncers who toss them out into the rainy streets. And it's no consolation to discover that Lindquist's portrayal of Seattle is technically accurate. Substituting fact for fiction, he's used a map and a phonebook--and not enough imagination. --Tod Nelson
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