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One of the most exciting new voices in literature
Zachary Lazar graduated from Brown University in 1990. He has been a Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and has received the James Michener/Copernicus Society Prize from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Lazar grew up in Colorado and now teaches at Hofstra University. Sway is his second novel.
As Mick Jagger sang in the 1970 song"Sway," "It's just that demon life has got me in its sway." In Lazar's second novel, he uses a number of real "demon lives" from the '60s-the Stones and their entourage; Kenneth Anger, the filmmaker who shot Scorpio Rising; and Bobby Beausoleil, a musician and Manson family associate-to channel the era's dread and exhilaration. Lazar shows the decade's descent as the culture of youth (represented most clearly by the Rolling Stones as icons of swinging London) responds to assassinations, the war in Vietnam, the repression in Czechoslovakia and the shedding of naivete about drugs. Lazar sketches out his narrative through discrete episodes: Bobby's first criminal job with Manson; Anger's filming of Scorpio Rising; the breakup of Anita Pallenberg and Brian Jones; and a series of Anger's failed film projects. Anger serves as the narrative's lynchpin, and Lazar could have easily cast him as a tawdry caricature, but to his credit, Lazar understands that, in the '60s, the marginal was central, and he brilliantly highlights the fragility of an era when "everyone under thirty has decided that they're an exception-a musician, a runaway, an artist, a star." (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
The buzz is building on this second novel (after Aaron Approximately), which links the Rolling Stones, cutting-edge filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and the Charles Manson family via the real-life Bobby Beausoleil. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"Lazar's hugely impressive achievement is to evoke the energy of an over-documented time in a new way... As dark and enigmatic as its central subjects, Sway often feels like a whole new genre of folklore fiction...it's irresistible" * Daily Mail * "Dark, intricate eulogy to the bloody death of Sixties idealism" * Esquire * "Lazar is a clever enough writer to let his juxtapositions and cross-cuts do the work: indeed his visual imagination pervades" * Times Literary Supplement * "Reveals Lazar to be a considerable talent" * Guardian * "Sway is a study of layers of manipulation and control: Manson over his credulous followers; the Stones over their audience; Anger's attempt to harness the forces of magic... Casts a haunting spell over the reader" * Daily Telegraph *