Sunday, October 6, 2019

"A Song for a New Day"

Sarah Pinsker is the author of the novelette "Our Lady of the Open Road," winner of the Nebula Award in 2016. Her novelette "In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind," was the Sturgeon Award winner in 2014 and a Nebula finalist for 2013. Her short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, F&SF, Uncanny, Strange Horizons, as well as numerous other magazines, anthologies, year’s bests, podcasts, and translation markets.

Pinsker applied the Page 69 Test to A Song for a New Day, her first novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
"You're here because you want to play," April whispered. "Don't let him ruin your night."

She was right he had already crept into my mood. An evening of like-minded musicians pushing back against ridiculous times would have been nice, but this wasn't going to be that, and that hadn't been my purpose in coming. I needed to play. I said a silent prayer to have even one person show up; playing for April and this dude wouldn't be the same.
Page 69 is pretty representative of A Song For A New Day. The book features two characters, and only one is present here. In this passage, the musician Luce Cannon is looking for places to play after a series of events have led most venues (and public spaces in general, from schools to museums to ballparks) to shut their doors. She's someone who feels most connected with other people when she's playing music, and she's overjoyed when she finds a dive bar that's willing to let her play illegally under a pseudonym in their back room. The fact that she's been paired with a jerk on that night's bill is disappointing, but won't stop her, which is part of what makes this page representative of her and the book as a whole. This is still early, and neither we nor she know the lengths she'll go to, but this passage and this gig are a good preview for the fact that when she needs to play, she won't let anyone stop her.

Her desire for "pushing back against ridiculous times" also makes this passage representative. This is still early, but she recognizes that things are not as they should be. She wants to make sure nobody forgets what used to be called normal as normality gets redefined. This is something Luce does continually throughout the book, as is surrounding herself with "like-minded musicians" who also share her desire for live-music-as-community, and looking for an audience, no matter how small, that she might win over.

So yeah, I guess this page captures a lot of what goes on in the rest of the book!
Visit Sarah Pinsker's website.

--Marshal Zeringue