by Jim Booth
Cover photo by Lea Booth
Like other rock stars before him, Jay Breeze has been relegated to “the dustbin of history.” Consigned there even before his car hit a tree, Jay’s reality was fan-dictated: the embodiment of a past that “the future thought it was.” His literary executor, Charlie Beagle, journalism professor, Rolling Stone contributing editor, and former bandmate, retrieves the scraps—what seems the detritus of his friend's life—and composes the ballad of Jay Breeze, Rock Star. Bridging audience and artist, persona and man, musician and muse, reader and unflinchingly rendered character, Beagle arranges Jay’s woeful, passionate lyrics into a haunting, heartbreaking song.
“Booth provides some keen insights into the music and record-making industry, and effectively exemplifies the roller-coaster rancor or camaraderie that typifies inter-group mood swings and personality clashes. It’s also nice to have a rock figure—even a fictional one—who can quote Keats as well as Costello.”
Read the full review at Blogcritics.
J.A. Bartlett reflects on Completeness of the Soul’s “cracked mirror” of stardom in Call Me the Breeze over at The Hits Just Keep on Comin’.
“Like any great minimalist, Booth works every syllable for everything it’s worth. . . . [Completeness of the Soul] is minimalist, but only in word count, not in story or how it will affect you.”
Read the full review over at Scholars & Rogues
Jim Booth [in Completeness of the Soul] “pulls together a story that is incredibly realistic—showing the highs and lows of living in that [rock star] world.”
Dew on the Kudzu
“Jim seems to have found a unique way to illuminate the interior voice of fame. A way to convey the restless, active, eternally adolescent mind of an aging rock star. A way to convey the pros and cons of walking the tightrope of celebrity while offering an accurate glimpse into the heart of that life.”
—DON DIXON, record producer (R.E.M., The Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw, Marti Jones), composer, performer (Arrogance, Don Dixon and the Jump Rabbits)
“Jay’s story is told primarily through his collected letters and journal entries, a form that lends itself to honesty and raw emotion. Jay is a lover of literature, a lover of rock n’ roll, and a man who wants to quote Keats and Elvis Costello in the same sentence. His writing alternately poignant and humorous, he simultaneously damns and embraces his fame while hanging from Shakespearean banisters.”
—TERESA MILBRODT, author of Bearded Women: Stories
“I dug this book a lot. The sequence in Santa Fe is both funny and heart-wrenching. I think my favorite device is the way Jim seems to approach Jay’s life as a series of fragments. In death, you get a better sense of who Jay was in life but you also get an echo of the barrier Jay put up to distance himself from the rock hero worship he was never comfortable with. It rings true and sincere in a way that few rock stories do.”
—MICHAEL SMITH, Fiction 8