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"Sarah Kay loves strawberries, her tattoo artist, and the hot streets of Alphabet City in the humidity of June. Her age - well, let's say she's
still in her twenties."
on Oct. 10, 2012 :
"... Sarah Kay shows extreme talent by writing a novel entirely in a stream-of-consciousness form. There is a morbid undertone as he is forced to face who he is, and where he belongs. Readers will find an unlikely friend in the main character, as they can relate to the struggles of dreaming outside of the normal guidelines of life. Though some readers will not like the style, others will enjoy this rare form of storytelling...."
Notes: This portion of my review was originally posted on my website:
(reviewed 66 days after purchase)
on Aug. 30, 2012 :
Transcendent, mesmerizing, alive. ... Kay chooses a wonderfully gritty canvas (NYC) as the landscape for her flawed, rich and detailed characters, who leap from the pages and command your attention in her debut novel, "the blues, Mary". The story, as seen through the lens of her main character, is one of struggle, longing, triumph, failure, desire, jealousy, regret ... the search for love, redemption, solace and ultimately a journey of self discovery, connects readers regardless of their background through superb storytelling and the power of shared experiences. It is, in short, a tale of the trials and tribulations of the human spirit; one which is relatable to all and one which should not be missed.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on Aug. 29, 2012 :
It is always a pleasure to discover an author who has a voice and a distinct style. "The Blues, Mary " starts strong and holds its ground, being very personal yet universal.
A man tries to find his way through the streets of NYC and while he tries to define himself and mold his future, he has to go back to the beginning of his life to grasp moments in his childhood to understand the path he took and will take. The inner thinking of the character is well defined and very lyrical.
There is a real poetry in the images and scenes, a love of NYC and the urban life which hugs as much as it slaps the character. Palpable emotions are illuminating the novel, deep and also delicate, raw but yet refined as if the author carried this story for a long time, caressing hard truth and half lies to plow those in the narrative and makes it explosive yet humanly subtle.
Following this character is almost a walk in a labyrinth of existential questions but where the answers are simply easy but too hard to accept. Defining yourself and yet never knowing yourself entirely, looking for love and understanding but yet hating to conform and trust.
Punctuating this effortless narrative are excerpts from modern music which enhance the course of the story and give it his own rhythm and also a soundtrack of feelings and blissful nostalgia.
The Blues so loved by the main character balances desires and catapults him to a more mature path where neurosis are known yet impair our judgments and choices.
I decided to not go into the plot too much and let the next reader enjoy its own odyssey and come back to the other side of this promising first novel, enlightened and eager to read more.
(reviewed 19 days after purchase)
on Aug. 29, 2012 :
Do you like music? I'm not talking genres, artists or anything specific;just, do you like music? The act of telling a story in a poignant way that stirs the emotions and takes you on a journey? If yes then congratulations for understanding that heavy-handed and nearly incomprehensible metaphor, and may I recommend this book to you in a similarly heavy-handed way?
With me so far? Thanks for sticking with me; it means a lot. The Blues, Mary is a book that reads like a long-form Springsteen song, with emotional weight to every line. These 'lyrics' build together and weave through into a narrative that reads like music and delivers in each chapter like a guitar riff crescendo.
I'm rambling, but if ever a book was made to read to your favourite songs it would be this one. So once again:
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
Sara Elizabeth Goodman
on Aug. 28, 2012 :
Sarah Kay’s debut novel, The Blues, Mary, is an existential journey through the tangled relationships formed in the music world of New York City. Far from home, and even farther from the ability to commit to the woman he loves, her narrator seeks to find the answers through a rock and roll singer, only to find that his heroes can’t give him the answers he seeks. The Blues, Mary is filled with all-encompassing truths that define the human experience, full of thinly-veiled insecurities, regrets, and doubts. The characters’ search for salvation feels like our own, with Mary acting as a substitute for the universal “one that got away,” and everyone who has ever loved someone but been unable to follow through will identify with the narrator’s struggle. If you’ve ever felt the burden of having destroyed a relationship without knowing why or tried to turn to music for the answers to your problems, you will adore this book.
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)