A Song for a New Day

Length: 12 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019

In this captivating science fiction novel from an award-winning author, public gatherings are illegal making concerts impossible, except for those willing to break the law for the love of music, and for one chance at human connection.

In the Before, when the government didn't prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce's connection to the world - her music, her purpose - is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: She performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law.

Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery - no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she'll have to do something she's never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.

©2019 Sarah Pinsker (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"An all-too plausible version of the apocalypse, rendered in such compelling prose that you won’t be able to put it down...a lively and hopeful look at how community and music and life goes on even in the middle of dark days and malevolent corporate shenanigans." (Kelly Link, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Get In Trouble)

"You'd better keep a copy of A Song for a New Day with you at all times, because this book will help you survive the future. Sarah Pinsker has written a wonderful epic about music, community, and rediscovering the things that make us human. Pinsker has an amazing ear for dialogue, a brilliant knack for describing music, and most importantly a profound awareness of silence, in both its positive and negative aspects. A Song for a New Day restored some of my faith in community, and I didn't even realize how much I needed this book right now." (Charlie Jane Anders, national best-selling author of All the Birds in the Sky and The City in the Middle of the Night)

"Experiencing Sarah Pinsker's A Song For a New Day is like listening to a fine, well-rehearsed song unleashed live. It's a deeply human song of queer found family and the tension between independence and belonging, thoughtful and raw like the best live music. It's also a cautionary tale of what happens when we privilege convenience over connection. If you love performance - the magic of head-thrown-back ecstatic musical communion - read this book." (Nicola Griffith, author of Hild)

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A Gauntlet Thrown

This passionate, lyrical novel, drawn from the author’s own deep experience of live music, is a challenge thrown to those who would resist oppression in all its forms. Its controlling metaphor of the infinite ways in which human beings create and express dovetails with its serious inquiry about collaboration, capitulation, subversion, self-protection, sin, and the search for redemption.

My only quibble (which you can see did not affect my ratings) arises from my legal training. The major premise of the novel depends on a set of statutory reactions to a crisis that I am reasonably confident would not survive First Amendment challenge. I am able to believe in both the mass hysteria and the political and corporate opportunism that would seek to create and perpetuate such reactions, but I don’t think the emergency exceptions to the Peaceable Assembly clause would extend this far. Because there is so much legal and constitutional misinformation out there, I think it’s important to correct such misapprehensions where they arise. However, the average reader would not notice or care about this issue (which is part of the problem), and so it would not affect anyone’s enjoyment.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Something missing; unsatisfying.

This was recommended to me because I love Ready Player One, but the similarities to that novel are only superficial. It's a neat story set in an interesting near-future world, and well performed, but it's not magic like RPO. It completely lacks a sense of wonder, of epic scale, of protagonists defeating a great evil. In point of fact, I found the plot arc and character relationships deeply unsatisfying. That being said, it's likely Song for a New Day will feel much more meaningful to listeners into a local music scene. If that's you, highly recommended. If, like me, you're looking for another romp in The Oasis, this isn't it

1 person found this helpful