I’m supposed to be better than this. I'm supposed to have a tenure-track job teaching music history to undergrads, writing papers about Bach, and proving to kids like me that you can work your way out of Harlem. I'm not supposed to be following a rock star around the country, fetching his mail, making sure his groupies are of age.
I'm definitely not supposed to be sleeping with said rock star, who claims to be the Greek god Dionysus. At first I thought it was a load of crap. Nik's fans might think his music captures their hearts—and souls—but I knew better. Until one of Nik's orgiastic concerts gets out of hand and I don’t know which is worse: that he might be a god after all, or that he has a body count.
Nik doesn’t care what I want or what I should be. He wants to tear down the world I've built, warping all I am, until his music is all that's left of me. I can't let him do that. I shouldn't believe in him. I've seen what happens to the people who believe in him.
But I can't get his song out of my head.
Anthony Brooks has a Ph.D. in musicology, but academia isn't hiring. His uncle, a musicians' agent, gets Anthony a job as the handler for Nik, a popular rock singer. Nik claims to be the Greek god Dionysus, a role that he plays 24 hours a day. Bolstering this claim, his concerts have a tendency to turn into orgiastic exhibitions at which there are occasionally suspicious deaths. Anthony doesn't believe in Nik's divinity and finds himself not just managing but having to live with the temperamental musician, as the initial dislike between the two develops into outright battle and then into something far more complicated. Kudisch's brilliant debut is erudite and powerfully descriptive about music, psychologically fascinating in its cat-and-mouse game between the flawed and three-dimensional characters; the writing is consistently charming, witty, and shatteringly emotional, unafraid of going very dark places. Nik is a Dionysus whom the ancient Greeks would have recognized, and Kudisch doesn't shy away from depicting the shattering emotional damage that comes from encountering a god, especially one who can't tell the difference between a blessing and a curse. The fascinating mix of raw power, modern popular culture, and potent interpersonal drama will leave readers hungry for more.