The Dirty Beat
UQP, $32.95 pb, 274 pp
Rock’n’roll romanticism can stand in for many things: the sense of lost authenticity, lost freedom, lost youth, the good old days before music was composed by machines and performed by underwear models and all the pubs were turned into gambling venues. The passion, the music, the soul: Venero Armanno’s new novel is about all that, though one of its main faults is that it is always telling you what it is about rather than making you feel it. It is not primarily self-congratulatory – Armanno makes fun of rock wannabes always on the verge of failure – but that note is never far off, and the book still seems to be trying to write its own blurb.