Camden Joy’s hero can’t wrap up the quickie biography of rock star Liz Phair he’s been commissioned to write. Instead, the shaky author finds himself recounting the troubled events of his own life. His ex-girlfriend (who just might be the illegitimate daughter of dead Rolling Stone Brian Jones), Liz Phair (whom he’s never met), and a mystery girl seen looting a shop in an old newspaper photo all start to blur together in his mind. If only he could get closer to his subject before the assignment spins out of control, maybe he’d have a shot at the distinction he feels he deserves . . .
First published in 1998, The Last Rock Star Book has become an underground cult classic.
Verse Chorus debuts with a breathless hybrid of fictional autobiography and pop-culture critique that will appeal to literary rockers and cynical Gen-Xers. Joy earned underground notoriety as a "guerrilla" writer scribbling limited-edition pamphlets and passionate posters about various cult bands. His first novel traces the downward spiral of a morally suspect slacker named... Camden Joy. After an unwanted breakup with his girlfriend, the fictional Camden is hired by a schlock publisher to write a quickie bio of Liz Phair, the real-life artist who pioneered a 1990s brand of feminist rock and has been lying low after the release of two acclaimed albums. Camden is daunted by the assignment, but the offer comes at a time when he's down and out. So, acting out of desperate bravado, Camden steals his landlady's car and journeys to Chicago to confront Phair and a host of personal demons. Employing a freewheeling narrative style, Joy relates his ode to squandered youth and perfect pop songs in a flurry of words and excited digressions. Some of the flashbacks to an adolescence suffused with rock and roll and fizzled gestures of rebellion are truly funny, but the indulgent musings on identity, fame and art shed more heat than light. Joy emerges as a spectacularly energetic writer--and as a novelist who hasn't yet learned to shape the persistent buzzings of too many media echoes.