We just received Us Conductors, and we are delighted! It's the debut novel by Montreal author Sean Michaels, who is best known as the founder of Said the Gramophone, one of the web's longest-running and best-loved mp3 blogs (he's also written for The Guardian and McSweeney’s, among other venues, and won two National Magazine Awards). The story is inspired by the true life and loves of the Russian scientist, inventor and spy Lev Termen, creator of the theremin, and it's told through a series of flashbacks and correspondence between Termen and his “one true love,” Clara Rockmore, the finest theremin player in the world. As Sean says himself:
It's a novel about invention, memory, debt, airships, orchestras, Soviet spies, American ballerinas, Siberian taiga, electric singing, killer kung-fu, blue speakeasies, and responsibility. It's full of lie-seeming truths and true-feeling lies.
The book's fitting epigraph, from Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, is "In memory, everything seems to happen to music." This is a book by a writer who is extremely good at describing how music makes you feel, about the feelings of people who made music. It has chapter titles taken from songs by artists like Kate Bush, Jesus & Mary Chain, and Mark Hollis. But it's not just a novel for music nerds, it's for anybody interested in love, or inventions, or just words that sound particularly good next to each other.
Sean will be launching the book in Montreal on April 24th at the Cardinal Tea Room: details here. There will be a brief reading from the book, plus short musical performances by thereminists Aleks Schürmer and John Tielli, accompanied by members of Silverkeys, SUUNS , Gambletron, Miracle Fortress and more. A signing will follow.
For more information on Us Conductors, visit Sean's website: http://www.byseanmichaels.com/