Release Date: August 20th 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars
An unnervingly prescient, Nebula-award-winning novel explores life in a world permanently locked down in the aftermath of a pandemic.
Before: Luce Cannon is on the road. Success is finally within her grasp: her songs are getting airtime; the venues she’s playing are getting larger. But mass shootings, bombings and now a strange contagion are closing America down around her.
The gig Luce plays tonight will turn out to be the last-ever rock show as the world’s stadiums, arenas and concert halls go dark for good.
After: Rosemary is too young to remember the Before. She grew up, went to school and works in the virtual world of Hoodspace. Only a few weeks ago she was a customer service rep for Superwally, the corporate monolith of automated warehouses and drone deliveries that services almost every consumer need, but now she’s about to do something she’s never done before… she’s going to take to the road, in the real world.
Working for StageHoloLive, which controls what is left of the music industry, her job is to find new talent, search out the illegal backroom jams and bring musicians into the Hoodspace hologaphic limelight they deserve.
But when Rosemary sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.
A Song for a New Day is the beautifully told story of a world where everyone has retreated into virtual Hoodspace. People don’t meet up in groups anymore and everything happens virtually. The story follows two characters – Rosemary the perfect employee of corporation giant Superwally and Luce, the musician who played the last face to face concert. When Rosemary makes the decision to leave Superwally and take a job with StageHoloLive, the company which has the monopoly on the music industry, Rosemary finds herself on the road travelling across the country in search of new bands. The job takes her to illegal venues and places she could not imagine. But once Rosemary begins to get to know the people still making live music, she learns Hoodspace might not be enough.
This is an utterly fascinating tale, and one that gripped me so much. The world fell due to a virus that killed lots of people, forcing people to remain indoors and retreat online – given all that’s going on in the world that felt pretty realistic. It was really interesting to see a future where the world has developed in a way that people no longer really go out. It was at times an uncomfortable read, but one I did not want to look away from. The plot is a well paced one, that gives the reader time to get to know our main characters and understand how the world has changed.
The story is told in alternating POVs between Rosemary and Luce. While I really liked them both as protagonists I was drawn more to Rosemary’s story and her attempt to move away from her life as a Superwally employee never leaving her small town. I loved seeing her grow and try new things, particularly as she became more and more involved in the underground music scene.
As someone who loves going to concerts I adored the way that Pinsker described the music and the venues in this book. The writing really brought the music to life and as there hasn’t been any live music for the past year it definitely left me wishing I could go to one soon. A Song for a New Day is a thought-provoking read and one that I find myself still thinking about even though I’ve long finished the book. It’s a book that really shows Pinsker’s passion for music and I am incredibly keen to read more from this author.