Do you love music? Have you ever attended a live concert to experience music? Most of us have. And so most of us can relate to Sarah Pinsker’s debut novel, A Song for a New Day.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This is a book about music, about community, and about a changed world. It’s also my favorite book of the year (so far). It combines relevant issues with the power of music, and not just the power of music, but our inherent need for music and the connection it can bring.
Making music in the darkness, then music against the darkness.
Sarah Pinsker has created a thoughtful commentary on a potential future without dwelling on the horrific events that led to that future. If you’ve lived through the events of September 11, 2001, or any other mass tragedy (and even if you haven’t), you can relate to this book. You can’t help but wonder about politics, liberties, and freedoms or lack thereof that led to the anti-gathering policies in A Song For A New Day. And while that drives the plot of this story, it’s still about the people and the power of music. The specific events and persons who created this future are a footnote, one you figure out through minor bits and pieces throughout the tale. Because the specific circumstance is not the focus. The focus is on the music and the power of shared experiences with that music.
A Song For A New Day is written by someone who loves music. It’s evident in the words and the lyrical, articulate way that live music experiences are described. If you’ve ever been to a show that left you feeling any emotions well after it ended, this book is for you. Throughout the book, I stopped reading to reminisce about my own musical experiences, and the book felt all the more meaningful because of that.
There are alternating points of view, and each one gives you a way into this new world from people who experienced the before and the after in different ways. This allows anyone to connect to the story. You can pause and think about being safe or social and whether or not those characteristics are mutually exclusive. This book can serve as a reminder, a warning, and a message about social media, personal connections, and even constitutional freedoms.
I can’t recommend this book enough and I hope everyone reads it. And then goes to a live concert afterwards.
A Song for a New Day is available from Berkley on September 10, 2019.
About A Song For a New Day
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.
About the Author
Sarah Pinsker‘s Nebula and Sturgeon Award-winning short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, F&SF, Uncanny, Strange Horizons, as well as numerous other magazines, anthologies, year’s bests, podcasts, and translation markets. She is also a singer/songwriter who has toured nationally behind three albums on various independent labels. Her first collection, Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea, was released in early 2019 by Small Beer Press. This is her first novel. She lives with her wife in Baltimore, Maryland. Find her online at sarahpinsker.com.