DIZZY Z by Matthew Holland


Email this review


 A fractious debut novel (``Read this book LOUD!'' urges a prefatory note) about a rock band threatened by internal discord and outside pressures, told by its eponymous hero (and lead guitar player) in a long, semi-drunken snarl. ``Dizzy Z`' (born David Dillinger Zimmerman) headlines the group Blood Cheetah, all of whose five members hail from working- class Dorchester, south of Boston. Crises mount during the California leg of their extended nationwide tour. They're wanted for questioning about a riot following their Rio, Nevada, gig, and a combination of liquor and cocaine has Dizzy (``an introspective headcase,'' in his own words) acting even more manic than usual. The story follows the track of Dizzy's vacillating allegiances to getting and staying high, and making himself a more socially responsible person (we hear his thoughts about feeding the starving poor, legalizing drugs, and befriending farmers, for example). Fragmentary relationships with fellow musicians, the group's support staff, a former girlfriend turned fashion model, and assorted starstruck groupies (the most interesting of whom handcuffs Dizzy to a futon) flicker across the surface of a novel that, oddly enough, doesn't have anything very specific to say about the music that is ostensibly Dizzy's (and its) raison d'àtre. Instead, we're subjected to a morose rant only infrequently punctuated by lively one-liners (``anybody who quotes Monty Python is a dork''; ``Ted Kennedy? I could drink him under the table with one kidney tied behind my back''). And a climactic scene in which the rockers visit the mother of a teenager who was murdered for concert tickets is a last-minute grasp for some substance that simply misfires embarrassingly. Holland's first fiction tells you more than you'll want to know about being comparatively young, talented, rich, famous, HIV-negative, stoned, and paranoid. But it doesn't pull itself together, and it doesn't tell a story.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1998
ISBN: 1-56947-074-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Soho
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1997