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May 2014 Indie Next List
— Josh Christie, Sherman's Books & Stationery, Freeport, ME
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Anna Brundage is a rock star. She is tall and sexy, with a powerhouse voice and an unforgettable mane of red hair. She came out of nowhere, an immediate indie sensation. And then, life happened.
Anna went down as fast as she went up, and then walked off the scene for seven years. Without a record deal or clamoring fans, she sells a piece of her famous father’s art to finance just one more album and a European comeback tour.
Anna is forty-four. This may be her last chance to cement her place in the life she chose, the life she struggled for, the life she’s not sure she can sustain. She falls back easily into the ways of the road—sex with strangers, the search for the perfect moment onstage. To see Anna perform is something—watch her find the note, the electric connection with the audience, the transcendence when it all comes together and the music seems to fill the world.
A riveting look at the life of a musician, Wonderland is a moving inquiry into the life of a woman on an unconventional path, wondering what happens next and what her passions might have cost her, seeking a version of herself she might recognize. It takes us deep into a world many of us have spent hours imagining and wishing ourselves into—now we have a bit of that wish come true.
Praise For Wonderland…
"Ingeniously conceived and believable… D’Erasmo is a gifted and skillful writer."
—Lionel Shriver, The New York Times Book Review
"Stacey D'Erasmo's exquisite Wonderland...succeeds, not through bombast but with beautifully measured, understated writing and meticulous characterization...Wonderland's narrator, Anna Brundage, is so beautifully realized that I wanted to download her music on iTunes... a striking evocation of the artist's quest"
—Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles Times
"Briskly addictive. . . Some sentences dance like wind chimes in a hurricane; others evanesce. . . D'Erasmo expertly conjures the seductive uncharted space that lures the sculptor, the musician..."
—O, The Oprah Magazine
"An exceptionally well-written novel... I read Wonderland and saw that D’Erasmo wanted to write about what it means to devote your life to your art too, but she kept that the focus of the entire novel, and it makes for a razor-sharp, unsparing book. She captures both the joys and the terror, the grind and the exaltation."
—Emily St.John Mandel, The Millions, "A Year in Reading"
"Dreamy... [with] finely tuned prose… Given the book's sensual imagery and magnetic heroine, it's hard not to wonder what Anna would sound like—I pegged her as some combination of Björk, Florence and the Machine, and Janis Joplin."
“Her story reads like an unusually lucid travel journal...In Brundage, D’Erasmo has created a wry, questioning, sensual artist.”
—The New Yorker
“heartbreakingly intense…[a] dramatically satisfying, philosophically complex novel.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
"D'Erasmo's writing exhibits a life-and-death intimacy that grabs at us"
"[A] questing, questioning, melodic narrative…Sentence by sentence, Stacey D’Erasmo is a gorgeous writer...[with] a vibrant, idiosyncratic voice"
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“the prose constantly achieves the magic trick of seeming both weightless and grounded...an evocative exploration of universal themes: the anxieties of middle age, the bittersweet freedom of the creative life, the burden of the legacy a daughter inherits from her father.”
"A cool, dreamy read, by turns drug-fueled, anxious, touched by grief, blistering with the heat of survival instinct…delicious"
—Black Heart Magazine
"D’Erasmo gives us an inside look at a world most of us will never experience. As Anna strives for perfection in her music, you get the feeling she might just make it."
"[WONDERLAND] delicately melts together a captivating story, artistic language and meaningful imagery."
“As Robert Mapplethorpe told Patti Smith, this one, Wonderland has the magic.”
—Washington Independent Review of Books
"A must read for any up and coming artist to grizzled veteran."
“[D’Erasmo] combines the delightful worlds of literature and music while bringing out the best in both mediums…a rich and exquisitely crafted novel.”
"A spellbinding look into the protagonist’s being... meticulously crafted ... Days and shows pass, but within this routine, a transformation slowly creeps into the narrative: that of commitment, and, perhaps, hope for the future."
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
"Anna is an irresistible narrator. D’Erasmo brings us inside the music and the musician’s psyche in this transfixing song of a self evolving through discovery, loss, and renewal."
— Booklist, STARRED
"[D’Erasmo writes] artfully and insightfully, giving Brundage a no-nonsense, road-worn tone that leaves equal room for pathos and humor... D’Erasmo is particularly good at capturing the randomness and joy of the creative process.. thoughtfully addresses aging, art and relationships."
"Like Anna, her unforgettable narrator, Stacey D'Erasmo has found a new sound here: a voice so gorgeous and raw that it captures what it means to be human. D'Erasmo's prose is lyrical and alive—this is a vital, powerful novel—and Wonderland will strike a chord with anyone who's ever dreamed of getting a second chance."
—Elliott Holt, author of You Are One of Them
"There's a lot in this book that those of us who've lived the music life will recognize: the eroticized grind of life on the road; the hothouse environment of the recording studio; the weird state of in-between that defines provisional rock and roll fame. But what's best about Wonderland is its portrait of a creative spirit. When Anna Brundage is in the zone, she pulls songs from the air; she showers her fans and collaborators in pain and beauty. Wonderland's insight into how a woman inhabits, feeds, and sometimes undoes her own artistry is rare and profound."
—Ann Powers, music critic, co-author of Piece by Piece (with Tori Amos), and author of Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America
"The world of Wonderland is authentic, vibrant, and genuine. Stacey D’Erasmo explores the delight and terror of second chances. A great read!"
"Wonderland is a witty and unflinching novel about life, love, art and sound checks. A deep howl and a bittersweet song, this is D'Erasmo's best yet."
—Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask, Home Land, and others
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544074811, 256pp.
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
About the Author
STACEY D’ERASMO is a recipient of Guggenheim and Stegner Fellowships, the author of three previous novels and a book of nonfiction, The Art of Intimacy. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times (Magazine and Book Review), Bookforum, and Ploughshares, among others. She teaches in Columbia University's MFA program.