At college in 1980s, Robbie Goulding, an Irish-born teenager, meets Fran Mulvey, a Vietnamese refugee. Together they form a band. Joined by cellist Sarah-Thérèse Sherlock and her brother Seán on drums, they set out to chase fame.
Spanning 25 years, we fast-forward through an evocative soundtrack of struggle and laughter. Infused with blues, New Wave, and punk, the tale stretches from the Glastonbury Festival to Long Island, culminating in July 2012, a night that changes everything.
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A witty, moving song
Being an admirer of O'Connor as well as Hinds, I alternated between the two versions, catching up or reading along whenever I felt like it. The transition was seamless every time. The whole (audio) book is a joy, a personal exploration of the defining forces in life: love, friendship and music - in no particular order. Hinds' mastery as a narrator sets a standard of its own. With a voice famed for its expressive depths, he invests every character with a vulnerability perfectly matching O'Connor's work. There's not a note to be heard in this audio production and yet I feel his performance has never been closer to a song.
Even when you're not usually inclined to like a curly-haired, alcoholic pop guitarist of a certain age, you can't help being attracted to Rob. His observations and self- deprecating wit are very appealing. His story is utterly believable as he and his co-characters were written with great humanity.
It was impossible not to burst out laughing on more than one occasion while walking, to the consternation of both passers-by and my canine companion. The skilful build-up toward the final performance makes for a cathartic experience and I dare any listener (or reader) not to well up at that point.
Beautiful and funny
- Sarah C