After the failure of his band’s second album, Teddy Tremble traded in his guitar for a law degree.
A decade after the band parted ways, Teddy receives a mysterious message from his ex-drummer: an unflattering portrait of Teddy—with a devastating caption—taken by a Swiss photographer, is hanging in the Tate Modern in London. Enraged, Teddy travels to Switzerland to confront the man and makes a startling discovery: despite the fact that the band, Tremble, has been largely forgotten by most of the world, it still possesses an ardent following in a small Swiss town. Though Teddy is confused by his continued popularity, he's also shaken and begins writing music again. The response from his old producer, the iconic Sonny Rivers, is positive, and Teddy sets out to reunite a band whose members, now in their mid- to late-30s, have moved on with their lives. Though the drummer, Warren Warren, had contacted him about the photograph, he's a teacher and family man with little desire to step back into the public eye and leave behind his family for life on the road. Guitarist Jumbo Jett, who lives in his ex-wife’s basement, is more than ready, however. The missing piece for a Tremble reunion, and the one Teddy has the most anxiety about approaching, is bassist Mackenzie. Despite the passage of time, and his own long-term relationship with girlfriend Sara, he still struggles with his unrequited love for Mack. While it would have been easy for Abramowitz to fall back on rock-and-roll stereotypes, these characters—even the ones who initially feel familiar—are complex and unique. The pacing is quick, the emotional current soars, and the dialogue rings true.
Abramowitz’s debut is both funny and compassionate, using the world of the music industry to illustrate the questions of life and legacy that so many of us ponder.