Published on December 7th, 2015 | by Chris Butts0
Local Scholar Gifts World with Bluesy Novel
Adam Gussow is a blues scholar, a professor of English and Southern Studies at Ole Miss, a musician, and now a novelist. His new book Busker’s Holiday tells the story of a graduate student named McKay as he leaves his relationship troubles behind and explores the European busking scene in the late 1980s with his friend Paul.
Gussow’s background with blues music is conveyed through his protagonist whose odyssey is framed around the tunes that come from the harmonica he keeps in his pocket. Through the exhilarating events of his spontaneous sojourn, which begins in Paris and includes ventures into Switzerland, Germany, and Holland, McKay reinvents himself, picking up girls every step of the way. Gussow’s writing is playful and bold. A mélange of quick dialogue and exquisite sensory detail that often takes on a lyrical form make for a fun read. This book will make the perfect gift for anyone with a healthy taste for adventure and an interest, large or small, in the Blues.
Gussow’s first book, Mister Satan’s Apprentice: A Blues Memoir, is his own exciting story of musical collaboration with Mississippi guitarist Sterling Magee. His second book Seems Like Murder Here: Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition, is an account of Southern blues traditions as it related to racial violence during the Jim Crow era. It won the C. Hugh Holman Award from the Society for the Study of Southern Literature in 2004. He also wrote Journeyman’s Road: Modern Blues Lives From Faulkner’s Mississippi to Post-9/11 New York¸ which is filled with lesser-known stories about the Blues. The pages of all four of these books move with the passion Gussow has for the Blues. Busker’s Holiday explores blues music in a different, more buoyant setting than Gussow’s other work, but all four will make for thoughtful gifts that support the local creative economy.
Busker’s Holiday is available in paperback ($14) and as an e-book ($5) on Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble, and on iTunes. Signed copies are also available at modernbluesharmonica.com.