A lame, long-winded tale from Wener, a former lead singer with the Brit pop band Sleeper.
“Why is my girlfriend so fed up with me that she feels the need to go and live in a whole other country?” whines narrator Danny McQueen, whose mother was such a Steve McQueen fanatic that she married a man named McQueen. (Because you’re a boring lout, readers who’ve persevered through the novel’s first third to get to this point will reply.) After five years, marketing consultant Alison is fed up with 29 year-old Danny’s rock-star fantasies. He and two mates, one of whom gives him a black eye for being a “self-absorbed, moaning little git,” play for beer at friends’ parties. He gets up at midday, eats his breakfast in front of Supermarket Sweep, and drinks all of Alison’s Bacardi Breezes before she gets home from the office. He should shape up and get a job, says Alison, who’s accepted a six-month reassignment from London to Bruges. Danny tells the band they have to get a recording contract or hang it up. He tracks down an obnoxious high-school buddy who is now the lead singer in a hot band called Scarface and bluffs his way into a contract to back them up on a tour. It’s a vanity deal—his band has to pay $1,000 for the lowly 8–8:30 p.m. time slot—but it’s a gig. By the end of the tour, a reviewer has called them “the next big thing,” and the three have dipped into the life of champagne, cocaine, and groupies. A record deal may be in the works, but that doesn’t make Danny’s life with Alison any easier. Unfortunately, he’s such a flat character it’s hard to care what happens to him.
Much inferior to The Perfect Play (2004), Wener’s first and more mature novel to appear in the US before this fledgling effort, which needn’t have made the flight across the Atlantic.