Doxology

Doxology

Pam, Daniel, and Joe might be the worst punk band on the Lower East Side. Struggling to scrape together enough cash and musical talent to make it, they are waylaid by surprising arrivals—a daughter for Pam and Daniel, a solo hit single for Joe. As the ‘90s wane, the three friends share in one another’s successes, working together to elevate Joe’s superstardom and raise bab...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Doxology
Author:Nell Zink
Rating:

Doxology Reviews

  • Maarten Hepp

    Totally loved this book!

    I felt very connected to Pam, the main character, who is my age and with whom I share quite some (musical) interests, as well as to her daughter Flora.

    I am strongly recommending this!

  • Matt

    4.5 stars

  • miss.mesmerized mesmerized

    New York pre-9/11. Pam, Daniel and Joe lead the life of a more or less successful punk band. They live their dream, not much money coming in, but they can do what they like to. They are happy and luck is on their side when Pam accidentally falls pregnant and Joe has a hit single. Despite his success, Joe spends most of his time with young Flora, his simple but caring mind is the best that could happen to the girl. With the attacks on the World Trade Center, everything changes for this small comm

    New York pre-9/11. Pam, Daniel and Joe lead the life of a more or less successful punk band. They live their dream, not much money coming in, but they can do what they like to. They are happy and luck is on their side when Pam accidentally falls pregnant and Joe has a hit single. Despite his success, Joe spends most of his time with young Flora, his simple but caring mind is the best that could happen to the girl. With the attacks on the World Trade Center, everything changes for this small community. Daniel brings his family away from the Big Apple to his wife’s parents in Washington where Flora will then grow up. She does not become a dreamer like her parents but is a strong activist for environmental matters and has the strong conviction that things can be changed.

    Doxology - an expression of praise to God. There are different kinds of god in Nell Zink’s novel who are worshipped. From the punk rock gods who are idolised by their groupies to politicians who promise their voters more than the world to lovers for whom they are ready to give up their ideals. Yet, none of them can fulfil the promises made and at last, the characters have to fend for themselves.

    I find it especially hard to write a review on the novel since I still don’t know what to think of it. I certainly admire her style of writing, it is lively and witty and her characters are authentic and powerful. However, it is hard to determine what the novel is about and what the author wants to point at. There is the (not so) easy-going time of the 1990s punk rock scene in New York, where life outside the bubble can be ignored. Family strings are cut and the musicians submerge totally in their artistic bath. 9/11 not only ends carefree life in New York but also their punk rock dream and the story shifts to Flora and her growing-up in Washington. In her early 20s, she could hardly be more different from what her parents were at that age. Her focus is totally different – well, she belongs to another generation with other topics.

    Flora is the product of her grandparents’ and parents’ decisions – and she herself has to make some major choices that will impact her existence. Maybe this is what the book is about after all: life as a chain of decisive moments that lead you in one or the other direction. Quite often there is no actual “right” or “wrong”, much more, the real implications only reveal themselves later. Does it help to ponder about past decisions? No, life goes on and you have to face it anyhow. A wonderfully written family history which is nevertheless not easy to grasp.

  • Lou

    Nell Zink has proved herself to be one heck of a writer in the past, but I must admit that Doxology, her fourth novel, was not as compelling as I had anticipated. That said, it still very much packs a punch it just isn't as original an idea as her other books. It's really a tale of two halves with the first half detailing Joe, Dan and Pam's lives and the time in which they grew up. The second half focuses on Pam and Dan's daughter Flora and her coming of age in a divided America. Joe, Dan and Pa

    Nell Zink has proved herself to be one heck of a writer in the past, but I must admit that Doxology, her fourth novel, was not as compelling as I had anticipated. That said, it still very much packs a punch it just isn't as original an idea as her other books. It's really a tale of two halves with the first half detailing Joe, Dan and Pam's lives and the time in which they grew up. The second half focuses on Pam and Dan's daughter Flora and her coming of age in a divided America. Joe, Dan and Pam's family dramas primarily take place in the first section of the novel and then two key events take place - 9/11 and a family tragedy followed by Flora in her formative years and an exploration of current politics, environmental and ecological issues. There is quite a bit of commentary on American politics, popularism (including Trump) and activism.

    This is another eminently readable, humorous and moving book from Ms Zink which covers the 1990s right through to the 2016 elections. I must admit that I found myself feeling overcome with nostalgia after some of the references to the 90s. However, the constant interruption of the narrative flow by a particular character to highlight a certain political or cultural development from the past decades spoiled the immersion at times. Despite this Zink's prowess is on show as the characterisation is astonishing (the cast felt like friends I had known forever by the end) and the richly evoked sense of time and place was impressive. This is an ambitious novel with, at times, a huge amount going on within its pages, but Zink manages to pull it off with considerable aplomb. Many thanks to Fourth Estate for an ARC.

  • Chris Haak

    I loved Mislaid and Nicotine by Zink, and even though I did like the first half of Doxology, in the second half it all got out of control. There were two different novels in one here really and I definitely preferred the first one (the story of Pam, Daniel and Joe and their music and friendship). The second part had way too many themes (Trump/politics, the environment/climate change, pregnancy/abortion/fatherhood/relationships, rich vs poor) and these were just ticked off (and on with the next..

    I loved Mislaid and Nicotine by Zink, and even though I did like the first half of Doxology, in the second half it all got out of control. There were two different novels in one here really and I definitely preferred the first one (the story of Pam, Daniel and Joe and their music and friendship). The second part had way too many themes (Trump/politics, the environment/climate change, pregnancy/abortion/fatherhood/relationships, rich vs poor) and these were just ticked off (and on with the next...) and too superficially dealt with. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with this Zink novel.

    Thank you Harper Collins and Edelweiss for the ARC.

  • Neil

    The book blurb gives most of the details of what happens in Doxology. Joe, Pam and Daniel meet and form a band, Pam and Daniel have a baby (Flora) and Joe’s music career takes off. We follow the three of them (four when Flora arrives) until 11 September 2001 when tragedy strikes both New York and the trio on the same day. Getting to this point is effectively the first third of the book and is, in truth, much like many of the other novels that track groups of friends living in New York. I feel li

    The book blurb gives most of the details of what happens in Doxology. Joe, Pam and Daniel meet and form a band, Pam and Daniel have a baby (Flora) and Joe’s music career takes off. We follow the three of them (four when Flora arrives) until 11 September 2001 when tragedy strikes both New York and the trio on the same day. Getting to this point is effectively the first third of the book and is, in truth, much like many of the other novels that track groups of friends living in New York. I feel like I have read a large number of these novels (it’s a great city full of interesting characters, so it is hardly surprising so many authors have set a book there).

    After 9/11, the focus gradually changes. Flora grows up and we alternate between her story and that of her parents/grandparents, with Flora gradually coming to the fore. Once Flora joins the activists fighting for ecological conservation and/or against Donald Trump, she comes to dominate the story.

    I think it probably helps to be American (which I am not) when reading this book. Firstly, I found myself (in the UK) having to look up a large number of words that turned out to start their definition by saying “(North American)…”. They were new words for me, but would be perfectly normal, I imagine, for any North American reading the book. The story is also very much embedded in North American culture referencing a lot of trade names etc. that will be very familiar to American readers but less so to those in other countries (I didn’t know what a BoltBus is until I read this book). Finally, once the story turns political as it follows Flora, then a good understanding of American politics would be very useful, especially an awareness of some of the issues raised and people involved during Trump’s ultimately successful campaign. For a non-American reader, some of this becomes a bit confusing. During Flora’s political activity, the story telling takes a bit of a back seat with both narrative and conversational passages making political points. This is the “elegiac takedown of today’s political climate” referred to in the blurb.

    Reading this book felt very much like a game of two halves. In the first part, the story of friends in New York dominates. This fades in the second part, although not completely, to be dominated by commentary on American politics. There is a lot about green issues and a quite a bit about Trump (or, at least, about people trying to stop him from becoming president).

    Despite my lack of knowledge of things North American, this was an enjoyable book to read. Zink seems to have a penchant for mathematically impossible descriptions (“exponentially more wonderful”, for example, which I am told is a thing but which I have never personally heard anyone say - and also she at one point says that Joe can play more instruments than Joe, Pam and Daniel can added together, which I guess is for humour but which made my headache for a few minutes), but she also writes in a very readable way. The narratives switches focus from one protagonist to another and the third person narration seems to switch in style subtly to reflect the person whose viewpoint we are currently seeing (and I think this explains some of the slightly unusual narrative phrases that I had to read a few times, such as those above).

    Overall, an interesting book to read although I am not quite sure how well some of it works outside of the United States.

    My thanks to 4th Estate and William Collins for an ARC via NetGalley. I will be interested to see what reviews from North Americans have to say when the book is more widely available.

  • Vix Standen

    It’s hard to follow a complex family like this over such a huge time span, and their tales were tricky to keep up with at times. But I enjoyed the ride & appreciated being to relate to many current events, such as Trump’s presidency and, further back, 9/11.

  • Sophie

    Στο πρότυπο του

    , το μυθιστόρημα της Zink αφορά τη δυναμική μιας οικογένειας-καθρέφτη της αμερικάνικης κοινωνίας, πριν και μετά τα γεγονότα της 9/11, χρησιμοποιώντας τη συγκεκριμένη τραγωδία ως καταλύτη, θεματικά και δομικά· βασική θεματολογία αποτελούν το χάσμα των γενεών, à la manière de Turgenev, και η κοινωνική, πολιτισμική και προσωπική φθορά που συνεπάγεται μιας τέτοιου διαμετρήματος καταστροφής. Η έμφαση, στο δεύτερο κυρίως μέρος του έργου, δίνεται στους σύγχρονους προβληματι

    Στο πρότυπο του

    , το μυθιστόρημα της Zink αφορά τη δυναμική μιας οικογένειας-καθρέφτη της αμερικάνικης κοινωνίας, πριν και μετά τα γεγονότα της 9/11, χρησιμοποιώντας τη συγκεκριμένη τραγωδία ως καταλύτη, θεματικά και δομικά· βασική θεματολογία αποτελούν το χάσμα των γενεών, à la manière de Turgenev, και η κοινωνική, πολιτισμική και προσωπική φθορά που συνεπάγεται μιας τέτοιου διαμετρήματος καταστροφής. Η έμφαση, στο δεύτερο κυρίως μέρος του έργου, δίνεται στους σύγχρονους προβληματισμούς περί της κλιματικής αλλαγής, με την πολιτική της ίδιας της συγγραφέως να παρεισφρέει στο κείμενο και να αντανακλάται στη συμπεριφορά της ηρωίδας.

  • Meike

    It’s an achievement in itself to write a political/family novel that features strange lo-fi anti-folk nerd bands from lower Manhattan and that I

    don’t like: This meandering tale introduces us to an American family where the parents have roots in the musical counterculture, but then flourish in the tech upper middle class, while their millennial daughter tries to help save the environment by becoming a political activist. So yes, Zink apparently tries to reflect society and changing attitud

    It’s an achievement in itself to write a political/family novel that features strange lo-fi anti-folk nerd bands from lower Manhattan and that I

    don’t like: This meandering tale introduces us to an American family where the parents have roots in the musical counterculture, but then flourish in the tech upper middle class, while their millennial daughter tries to help save the environment by becoming a political activist. So yes, Zink apparently tries to reflect society and changing attitudes by describing different generations (including the grandparents) over time, but nevertheless, the book has pretty much nothing to say: If you look for a stringent narrative concept, a message, surprising twists and thoughts or elegant prose, this is not your book. It is very readable and it’s not like I had to force myself to finish it, but the world did not need this novel – sorry, Nell Zink.

    The main structural element of the book is a cut: 9/11 divides the text in two halves, one focusing on the parents and their friend, weirdo rock star Joe, the other one centering around on Flora, the daughter. We all know by now that I just hate meandering stories, and this is no exception, but what makes it worse is that I did not care for the detached, wordy, overly descriptive storytelling which in large parts consists of character descriptions and boooooring theoretical reflections on current events – listen, I am a PoliSci nerd with an unhealthy news addiction who usually loves to spend whole nights discussing current events, but with their pseudo-critical sermons, Zink’s characters are jumping the shark, even for me. Zink is a member of the German Green Party, which is not comparable to the American Green Party – it is much more influential and important, a real force to be reckoned with. So when her character Flora joins the American Green Party and becomes a campaign staffer for Jill “1 %” Stein, you should expect some fascinating takes that might derive from the author’s personal knowledge of environmental politics, but: Nope. Everything is predictable, and the laments re the two party system and the never-ending beef between the Democrats are the same ones you’ve already read numerous times in case you’ve picked up a newspaper in the last four years.

    As the protagonists remain flat, there is also no personal angle that might shine a new light on an old story - Zink is no Jonathan Franzen. Whenever a new character appears, Zink gives us some paragraphs with their backstories à la “tell, don’t show” – it’s clumsy, lazy and it upset me quite a bit.

    So at the core, Zink juxtaposes the generation of the hedonistic 90's with their plaid shirts and ultimately pragmatic approach to the politicized millennials, and the whole thing doesn’t live up to its potential. There is also a cynical streak in this book that I did not enjoy. This is not my kind of writing.

  • Chris Roberts

    9/11 isn't a sacred, digit based religion,

    it's an X on the calendar,

    an X marks the spot where you died,

    four Xs in the sky, descending miles high.

    #poem

    Chris Roberts, God Incontrovertible

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.