The Daily Monocle

Critical book reviews from a literary skeptic.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rock Star's Rainbow by Kevin Glavin

Posted by J. P. Wickwire

Remember to check out our interview with Rock Star's Rainbow author, Kevin Glavin!

I tried really hard to like this book. In fact, I spent something like three months reading Kevin Glavin's Rock Star's Rainbow in tiny chunks, hoping that, if I digested it slower, perhaps I would be able to properly appreciate it. But I couldn't.

That being said, I felt like there was a genuinely good story hidden somewhere amidst the prose, I just couldn't find it. This book follows the adventures of Rook, a rock star searching for the meaning of life. On his quest, he ends up flying all over the earth, discovering long lost relations, and catching up with an old flame.

The skeleton of this story is good. It's a classic redemption tale with a somewhat-likeable anti-hero, set in farfetched, but compelling circumstances. And it is a satire, so there is (a bit) of humor.

But mostly, this book is just bizarre. The longer you read, the more muddled Rook becomes... and consequently, so does the prose. For me, the characters never quite came alive. Is that because of their strange—and sometimes ridiculous—thought patterns and actions? I don't know; I just know they didn't 'work' for me.

"Rock Star's Rainbow" also requires you to suspend your belief just a little too often. I can handle crazy people, love triangles, mafias, people with very strange names, tigers, washed up Bollywood stars, leeches, men who are painted blue... any of those things on their own. But when combined, the story becomes quite absurd… and not in a good way. A woman named Hula Kentucky? A kung-fu chick that gets her ear ripped off? Many, many references to Van Gogh (Partly because of the ear?), and passages that read like cheesy song lyrics?

To add to the mess, Rock Star's Rainbow also seems to express a little "TMI". There are plenty of details I never wanted to know, and wish I hadn't read. I'm not a squeamish person; I just didn't want to know all the details.

I will admit, I enjoyed a lot of the references to famous people, times, and works of art. They were unexpected—almost out of place—in this book, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. I guess you could say they were a breath of fresh air. The descriptions of India were also captivating; rich in both detail and substance.

Overall, I can tell that author Keven Glavin was really trying with his book. You can sense the effort, and, if you can sift through all the filler on top, you might find a decent story. It just didn't strike the proper chord with me.

Buy it/read an excerpt on Amazon
Author's Website

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