#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2022
My twenty-first #bookvent selection was a late entrant to the list but one which is so very deserving of its place. This author never fails to entertain, combining humour, pure emotion and beautifully evocative writing which captures you heart and soul. This time around we are faced with a road-trip which takes us across America and the legacy of which has most devastating consequences. With several nods to the author’s previous books, and more than the odd moment of self deprecation, my day twenty one pick is …
Dashboard Elvis is Dead by David F. Ross
A failed writer connects the murder of an American journalist, a drowned 80s musician and a Scottish politician’s resignation, in a heart-wrenching novel about ordinary people living in extraordinary times.
Renowned photo-journalist Jude Montgomery arrives in Glasgow in 2014, in the wake of the failed Scottish independence referendum, and it’s clear that she’s searching for someone.
Is it Anna Mason, who will go on to lead the country as First Minister? Jamie Hewitt, guitarist from eighties one-hit wonders The Hyptones? Or is it Rabbit – Jude’s estranged foster sister, now a world-famous artist?
Three apparently unconnected people, who share a devastating secret, whose lives were forever changed by one traumatic night in Phoenix, forty years earlier.
Taking us back to a school shooting in her Texas hometown, and a 1980s road trip across the American West – to San Francisco and on to New York – Jude’s search ends in Glasgow, and a final, shocking event that only one person can fully explain…
An extraordinary, gritty and tender novel about fate and destiny, regret and absolution – and a road trip that changes everything…
Glorious, glorious metafiction. Pack road trip, part historical journal, all entertainment, Dashboard Elvis Is Dead is a book which really leaves a mark. Following several characters whose lives intersect in surprising ,and ultimately devastating, ways, the story sees us journey across 80’s America, face down the impact of the worst act of terrorism in US history, navigate personal loss and family tragedy, before taking us to Glasgow as it prepares for the independence referendum and the Commonwealth Games. Thought provoking, sometimes challenging and, tinged with more than the odd moment of emotion, it packs all the punch of Danny Garvey, with much of the humour of the Disco Days trilogy. I really liked Jude as a character, flawed as she was, being left completely dumbstruck by how the story evolved, the loses endured. David F. Ross managed to make her both sympathetic and frustrating in equal measure, capturing all of the facets of her character just beautifully. Then there is Jamie. Failed musician determined to self destruct because of a mistake in his past. His actions set of a chain reaction, the ripples of which will be felt right to the present day, and I love how the author has captured and portrayed that butterfly effect so perfectly. Each decision taken has consequences, each consequence somehow magnified as we build towards that oh-so devastating finale. If you haven’t read the author yet, then I urge you to do so. His writing is beautiful, evocative, devastating even at times. It is the simplest of moments that leave the deepest scars. The more I think back on the book, the more I feel its resonance still and that has to be the mark of a very good book.
Unique styling, beautiful narrative and a memorable and astutely observed book. One of my easiest red hot reads.
You can read my full review here.
Happy #bookvent reading all