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The Song Is You: Book summary and reviews of The Song Is You by Arthur Phillips

The Song Is You

A Novel

by Arthur Phillips

The Song Is You by Arthur Phillips X
The Song Is You by Arthur Phillips
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Julian Donahue is in love with his iPod.

Each song that shuffles through “that greatest of all human inventions” triggers a memory. There are songs for the girls from when he was single; there’s the one for the day he met his wife-to-be, and another for the day his son was born. But when his family falls apart, even music loses its hold on him, and he has nothing.

Until one snowy night in Brooklyn, when his life’s soundtrack–and life itself–starts to play again. He stumbles into a bar and sees Cait O’Dwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer, performing with her band, and a strange and unlikely love affair is ignited.

Over the next few months, Julian and Cait’s passion for music and each other is played out, though they never meet. In cryptic emails, text messages, cell-phone videos, and lyrics posted on Cait’s website, they find something in their bizarre friendship that they cannot find anywhere else. Cait’s star is on the rise, and Julian gently guides her along her path to fame–but always from a distance–and she responds to the one voice who understands her, more than a fan but still less than a lover.

As their feelings grow more feverish, keeping a safe distance becomes impossible. What follows is a love story and a uniquely heartbreaking dark comedy about obsession and loss.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This is a triumphant return for Phillips to the level he achieved in his wonderful debut, Prague." - Publishers Weekly.

"Phillips attempts an antinovel wherein we are to be carried away by Music's power to disconnect us from and connect us to our most honest selves. This comes, unfortunately, at the expense of story and dramatic tension." - Library Journal.

"The problem is Cait, whose ostensibly irresistible allure is never fully convincing ... Still, the novel's clashing harmonies seduce and fascinate. And Phillips still looks like the best American novelist to have emerged during the present decade." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Arthur Phillips Author Biography

Arthur Phillips was born in Minneapolis and educated at Harvard. He has been a child actor, a jazz musician, a speechwriter, a dismally failed entrepreneur, and a five-time Jeopardy! champion.

His first novel, Prague, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and received the Los Angeles Times/Art Seidenbaum Award for best first novel. His second novel, The Egyptologist, was an international bestseller, and was on more than a dozen "Best of 2004" lists. Angelica, his third novel, made the Washington Post best fiction of 2007 and led that paper to call him "One of the best writers in America." The Song Is You was a New York Times Notable Book, on the Post's best of 2009 list, and inspired Kirkus to write, "Phillips still looks like the best American novelist to have emerged in the present...

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