HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Anna Brundage is a rock star. She is tall and sexy, with a powerhouse voice and an unforgettable mane of red hair. She came out of nowhere, an immediate indie sensation. And then, life happened.
Anna went down as fast as she went up, and then walked off the scene for seven years. Without a record deal or clamoring fans, she sells a piece of her famous father’s art to finance just one more album and a European comeback tour.
Anna is forty-four. This may be her last chance to cement her place in the life she chose, the life she struggled for, the life she’s not sure she can sustain. She falls back easily into the ways of the road—sex with strangers, the search for the perfect moment onstage. To see Anna perform is something—watch her find the note, the electric connection with the audience, the transcendence when it all comes together and the music seems to fill the world.
A riveting look at the life of a musician, Wonderland is a moving inquiry into the life of a woman on an unconventional path, wondering what happens next and what her passions might have cost her, seeking a version of herself she might recognize. It takes us deep into a world many of us have spent hours imagining and wishing ourselves into—now we have a bit of that wish come true.
PRAISE & REVIEWS
The Ten Best Books of 2014, BBC
Top Ten Fiction Books of 2014, Time
Best Books of 2014 NPR
14 Novels to Add to Your Spring Fiction Checklist, Vogue
Most Anticipated: The Great 2014 Book Preview, The Millions
The Best LGBT Books of 2014, Band of Thebes
On her comeback tour, a decade separated from her heyday, musician Anna Brundage zigzags across Europe with a new album, Wonderland; a new manager; and a new band, in the commanding latest from D’Erasmo (The Sky Below). Along the way, she tackles her roller-coaster past—her relationship with her artist father; her affair with Simon, a married father of two; an abortion—and seeks atonement. Spoken in Anna’s voice and structured with a fragmented chronology, the novel intersperses moments from multiple tours and recording sessions with personal letters and meditations, creating a spellbinding look into the protagonist’s being. Characters like the glammed-out Billy Q and the drug-addled Ezra weave in and out of Anna’s tour like ghosts, as Anna and her bandmates—Zach, Alicia, and Tom—live life on the road, where romance is fleeting, where friends come and go, and where a savior can be found in the darkest of moments. A story of second chances, D’Erasmo has meticulously crafted a work that, with the exception of a small lull midnovel, constantly builds, yet often feels incredibly casual. Days and shows pass, but within this routine, a transformation slowly creeps into the narrative: that of commitment, and, perhaps, hope for the future.
— Publishers Weekly, starred review.
— Interview with Stacey D’Erasmo, here
D’Erasmo avoids clichés in this rhapsodic portrait of a rock-and-roll diva like a champion slalom skier racing downhill without touching a single pole. Anna is an irresistible narrator. D’Erasmo brings us inside the music and the musician’s psyche in this transfixing song of a self evolving through discovery, loss, and renewal.
— Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review
May 2014 Indie Next List
“With a voice as raw and lively as an amplifier crackling to life, Wonderland’s Anna Brundage is the perfect rock-and-roll narrator. D’Erasmo explodes the tropes of coming-of-age stories, presenting a woman coming into her own at 44, seven years after her spectacular rise and fall on the indie scene. Back with a new band, a new album, and one last chance to make it as a musician, Anna’s journey is a wonderful meditation on music, the creative spirit, and the highs and lows of an unconventional life.”
— Josh Christie, Sherman’s Books & Stationery, Bar Harbor, ME
Oh, what a book this is, a book richly steeped in the twin geographies of movable time and malleable possibility…. D’Erasmo doesn’t just write gorgeous sentence after gorgeous sentence. She takes an enormous number of structural risks—forges a novel out of wildly imagined fragments without ever losing an ounce of coherency .…Readers of this book get not just a vivid character, Anna, but a full-fledged story and a brilliant meditation on second chances, second-tier careers, secondary love affairs, and fame (borrowed, tenuous, earned?).
— Beth Kephart, Beth Kephart Books
“Like Anna, her unforgettable narrator, Stacey D’Erasmo has found a new sound here: a voice so gorgeous and raw that it captures what it means to be human. D’Erasmo’s prose is lyrical and alive—this is a vital, powerful novel—and Wonderland will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever dreamed of getting a second chance.”
— Elliott Holt, author of You Are One of Them
“There’s a lot in this book that those of us who’ve lived the music life will recognize: the eroticized grind of life on the road; the hothouse environment of the recording studio; the weird state of in-between that defines provisional rock and roll fame. But what’s best about Wonderland is its portrait of a creative spirit. When Anna Brundage is in the zone, she pulls songs from the air; she showers her fans and collaborators in pain and beauty. Wonderland’s insight into how a woman inhabits, feeds, and sometimes undoes her own artistry is rare and profound.” — Ann Powers, music critic, co-author of Piece by Piece (with Tori Amos), and author of Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America
“The world of Wonderland is authentic, vibrant, and genuine. Stacey D’Erasmo explores the delight and terror of second chances. A great read!”
— Michael Stipe
“Wonderland is a witty and unflinching novel about life, love, art and sound checks. A deep howl and a bittersweet song, this is D’Erasmo’s best yet.”
— Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask and Home Land.