Sway (Hardcover)
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Three dramatic and emblematic stories intertwine in Zachary Lazar's extraordinary new novel, SWAY--the early days of the Rolling Stones, including the romantic triangle of Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards; the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the community of Charles Manson and his followers. Lazar illuminates an hour in American history when rapture found its roots in idolatrous figures and led to unprovoked and inexplicable violence. Connecting all the stories in this novel is Bobby Beausoleil, a beautiful California boy who appeared in an Anger film and eventually joined the Manson "family." With great artistry, Lazar weaves scenes from these real lives together into a true but heightened reality, making superstars human, giving demons reality, and restoring mythic events to the scale of daily life.

Praise For…

"Joseph Conrad said that fiction is primarily a visual art; he would have loved Zachary Lazar's Sway for the thousand indelible visual details of a startling originality--and for Lazar's ability to shine a light into the contemporary heart of darkness."

"Sway is a gripping and masterful novel about the Manson murders, the early years of the Rolling Stones, Kenneth Anger, and the dark heart of the 1960s."

"[Lazar] brilliantly highlights the fragility of an era when "everyone under thirty has decided that they're an exception-a musician, a runaway, an artist, a star."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Zachary Lazar's superb second novel, Sway, reads like your parents' nightmare idea of what would happen to you if you fell under the spell of rock 'n' roll...Elegant and intricate...this brilliant novel is about what's to be found in the shadows, the most terrifying crannies of twisted souls, the darkest gleaming gems."
-New York Times Book Review

"Lazar has created a powerful, infernal prism through which to view the potent, still-rippling contradictions of the late '60s. It's no mean feat. Despite the era's nearly impossible richness, fresh insights are hard to come by."
-Los Angeles Times Book Review

"One hypnotic tone poem.... It is not the now-historic acts of violence that make Sway so riveting, but its vivid character portraits and decadent, muzzy atmosphere, all rendered with the heightened sensory awareness associated with drugs and paranoia. The near miniaturist precision with which he describes Keith Richards's attempts to master his guitar, Brian Jones's acid trips and Anger's obsessive desire for Beausoleil bring this large-scale tableau into stunning relief."
-Time Out New York

"The novel moves swiftly, and Lazar handles the numerous segues from one story to another with a veteran film editor's finesse.... The ending has a powerful kick, and we're still hearing its echoes. A skillful dramatization of the consequences of making and inhabiting your own world. The Stones ought to write a song about it."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Blending fact and myth, novelist Lazar casts the Rolling Stones, the Manson family and avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger as characters in his dizzying, foreboding shadow history of the Sixties."
-Rolling Stone, Best New Rock Books, 2008

"Zachary Lazar's novel Sway makes a convincing case that dark forces can be summoned with the right incantation...this is the story of a bizarre convergence of real lives overlapping.... It's about the compulsion to find the edge by plunging over it."
-Austin American-Statesman

"Zachary Lazar begins where Didion left off in his fiercely imagined, kaleidoscopic novel."
-Rolling Stone

"As a painter might do with a brush and canvas, Lazar uses words in his new novel Sway to fashion a restrained but seductive portrait of lives intersecting in the tumultuous 1960s."

"Lazar's mode of engaging the volatile marvelously unexpected. He does not attempt to encompass or define or eulogize. He is rigorous in avoiding the kind of winking, hindsight-freighted knowingness of which a lesser writer might avail himself. Instead, Lazar finds his way inside the lives of the Stones, the Charles Manson "family," and the experimental gay filmmaker Kenneth Anger, demythologizing his characters by imbuing each one with a nuanced, deeply troubled inner life....Lazar's prose carries the day. His sentences are crafted with subtle precision, and the emotional palette of his writing is wide and vibrant....our investment in these fragile, intensely human figures is profound.... Nothing in Sway is writ large, but by carefully mapping the terrain separating the artist from the muse and the genius from the madman, Lazar makes the atmosphere of a decade almost palpable."
-The Boston Globe

"A rare find, both violent and beautiful."

"Measured and well-researched, his writing is exquisitely spare and largely dispassionate but with stretches of empathy."
-The Denver Post

"What Lazar gets at in this astonishing novel: a truth, wholly compelling, plausible, succinct. A book as beautiful and conflicted as the time it represents."
-L.A. Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316113090
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: January 1st, 2008
Pages: 272