Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes
Title: The Red Album of Asbury Park: Remixed
Author: Alex Austin
Synopsis: (Taken from Amazon.com)
It’s the late Sixties, the Beatles intact, Jimi Hendrix exploding and the Doors demanding the world. And on the East Coast, Asbury Park, New Jersey, will become the epicenter of a new brand of rock and roll. But in January 1968, a boardwalk Liverpool lies in the future. Racial tensions, escalating crime and a fading reputation as a first-class resort have shaken the City by the Sea. Asbury is at tipping point. Cast down into the resort on a winter night, Sam Nesbitt, 22, arrives broke and homeless, but filled with musical ambition. Seeking shelter, he boards a floating wooden swan ride, one of the seaside resort’s numerous offbeat attractions abandoned in winter. Drifting into an intoxicating dream of a rock ‘n’ roll future, Sam is nettled from his fantasy of fame and regained love by men’s voices rising outside the swan, discussing Jersey arcana … and murder. To the backbeat of a brutal struggle to control a dying and increasingly surreal town, Sam pursues a vision at once heroic and carnal, self-destructive and soul affirming.
The Red Album of Asbury Park: Remixed is definitely, by far, one of the best books I have read recently. There is no doubt about that. On the surface, The Red Album of Asbury Park doesn’t appear to be anything exciting – I wasn’t a fan of the cover (although “Never judge a book by the cover” rings very true here) and the synopsis did not pull me in. The cover just does not do this magical and engaging story justice. I gave it a try, though, and – wow. I am speechless. It’s going to be hard writing a review – because how do you explain something so wonderful?
Sam has just returned from his stint in the military and on the way to his mother’s new home, he meets a free (although heavily damaged) soul named Jillian. Instantly drawn to her, and their mutual respect for music -he finds himself torn between two women, one representing the past and one who represents everything that could be. Meanwhile- Sam wants nothing more than to make it big in the music industry, although the town is small and the stakes are high. Sam is full of soul and passion, qualities that are very admirable in a character. Sam is a likable and truly realistic character that will you cheering for him from start to finish.
Austin does a wonderful, amazing, absolutely phenomenal job at painting a picture. Words are carefully chosen and sentences carefully structured but flow easily as if writing is the most natural thing in the world. Because I was born in the 80’s, I was not fortunate enough to belong to the lifestyle of bell bottoms, hippies, and musicians following the Beatles. After reading Austin’s novel, I feel like I truly lived there. Like maybe – just maybe – I can now picture what life was like back in the 60s. With real life situations (JFK’s & Martin Luther King’s assassinations) mentioned in the time line of the plot, the book felt real to me. It gave me that sense of wonder, as if the book may possibly be based on true events. (I admit it, I looked up the band name “Pan” without much luck.)
While I read The Red Album of Asbury Park, I kept thinking what a fabulous movie this would make and am hoping that someday Alex Austin receives such recognition that this would become an easy possibility. For anyone who loves music and would love to read something new, I definitely recommend The Red Album of Asbury Park. Place it on your “To-Read” list as it’s a worthy read.