Simon Vozick-Levinson
July 17, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Alternative Hero

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Tim Thornton
publisher
Knopf
genre
Music, Fiction

We gave it a B+

There’s a fine line between hardcore fandom and outright stalking, and the genial burnout who narrates The Alternative Hero strides blithely across it after discovering that the long-retired frontman of his favorite band lives down the street from him. His efforts to make contact, while often quite funny, never really clarify just why this particular former star ever inspired such devotion. Yet Thornton, who plays drums in the real-life rock band Fink, gives his protagonist a vivid inner life packed with lovingly detailed reminiscences of the U.K. indie scene that flourished 20 years ago. Music nerds of all ages may recognize more of themselves than they care to admit. B+

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