Recently, I had two great pleasures. One was reading Evening’s Empire, a funny, sad, heartwarming and unfailingly entertaining novel about growing up and growing old in rock and roll. The other was interviewing Bill Flanagan, the book’s author, as decent, smart and generous a guy as you could hope to meet. When Flanagan isn’t writing terrific books, he’s making editorial decisions at the MTV Networks, where he serves as executive vice president.
I’ve read plenty of fiction set in the world of popular music, and even excellent writers have trouble capturing the feel. Not Flanagan. Every word in Evening’s Empire is note-perfect, which perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise: The guy has actually lived the life. But most folks who have lived the life couldn’t possibly render it in such vivid, rewarding prose. You don’t have to love rock and roll to enjoy the book – it’s far broader than that. But if you do love rock and roll, Evening’s Empire is required reading.
My interview with Mr. Flanagan can be found in The Providence Phoenix.