Most of us probably know somebody whose relationship with music borders on the obsessive. Band T-shirts outnumber, by far, any other type of garment in their wardrobe. Even in this age of Flash Seats, a shoebox full of old concert stubs lurks at the back of a closet. Come moving day, their collection of LPs, CDs or even cassettes takes up an inordinate amount of space in the van ... Coviello enjoys making mixes for other people and does so, meticulously and faithfully, throughout his new book, Long Players ... Technically, Long Players is nonfiction, but it reads more like a novel. Coviello’s story cycles through about a decade of his life, roughly his 30s, spent teaching English at a small college about 20 miles from Portland, Maine. Some of the things that happen to him are merely poignant or amusing, others hilarious or catastrophic. His tone ranges from bemused to mordant to shell-shocked; the literary allusions fly fast and furious...He borrows chapter titles from songs by Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, Katy Perry and Gillian Welch, among others ... Besides the book’s more explicit themes — infidelity, grief, friendship, therapeutic travel, step-parenting, ex-step-parenting - Long Players considers the many ways music permeates our relationships with other people. It’s basically one long argument that pop songs can be more than just, to quote Henry James, 'cheap raptures.'
While reading Coviello’s diary-entry memoir about his marriage, 'semistepdad' status to two delightfully precocious girls, and abrupt divorce and its aftermath...Coviello details his heartache in sometimes exasperating fervor as he attempts to understand why his wife, Evany, broke up their seemingly idyllic home by being unfaithful with a colleague ... Coviello reports on his travels from Maine to New York, Europe, Chicago, and back to Maine...using the connective thread of music and mixtapes to guide the reader through his anguish. Rare jewels of eloquent self-disclosure and must-hear postpunk music are offered to readers up to the challenge of this emotionally hefty volume.
Music-obsessed academic Coviello writes episodically about music and his failing marriage while living in a small college town in Maine. The book’s structure and the author’s love of 1990s indie bands can’t help evoking Rob Sheffield’s Love Is a Mixtape, though Coviello’s is a more sprawling, tempestuous affair, hurtling through the giddy peaks and darkened valleys of the bar-crawling years following his divorce ... This is a book also about love, and Coviello flings himself into a search for some kind of reassurance that, even without it, his life is not over. The chronicle of overeager romances on his postdivorce travels have all the shimmering choruses and gloomy in-between patches of the songs he listens to. It’s an exhausting trip to take, but it’s also memorably passionate.