Is There God after Prince?
Dispatches from an Age of Last Things
by Peter Coviello
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add firstname.lastname@example.org as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 06 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 01 Oct 2023
This is a book about loving things—books, songs, people—in the shadow of a felt, looming disaster. Through lyrical, funny, heart-wrenching essays, Peter Coviello considers pieces of culture across a fantastic range, setting them inside the vivid scenes of friendship, dispute, romance, talk, and loss, where they enter our lives. Alongside him, we reencounter movies like The Shining, shows like The Sopranos; videos; poems; novels by Sam Lipsyte, Sally Rooney, and Paula Fox; as well as songs by Joni Mitchell, Gladys Knight, Steely Dan, Pavement, and the much-mourned saint of Minneapolis, Prince.
Navigating an overwhelming feeling that Coviello calls “endstrickenness,” he asks what it means to love things in calamitous times, when so much seems to be shambling toward collapse. Balancing comedy and anger, exhilaration and sorrow, Coviello illuminates the strange ways the things we cherish help us to hold on to life and to its turbulent joys. Is There God after Prince? shows us what twenty-first-century criticism can be, and how it might speak to us, in a time of ruin, in an age of “Last Things.”
“Coviello is our bard of ardor, of nuanced connection, of passionate critical engagement with objects of art and each other. There is God, or at least life, after Prince, for a little while, anyway, but it’s up to us to seek vibrancy and feeling and new meaning in a world that seems too ready to close up shop. Coviello’s essays are beautiful demonstrations of our task.” Sam Lipsyte, author of "No One Left to Come Looking for You" and "The Ask"
Average rating from 4 members
My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher University of Chicago Press for an advanced copy of this collection which looks at the importance of art, well to quote Gordon Sumner, 'When the world is running down you make the best of what's still around'.
I remember a few weeks after 9/11 Entertainment Weekly had a cover asking in big bold letters, did comedy still matter. At the time I thought that was one of the stupidest things I had ever read, and I was an Entertainment Weekly subscriber at the time. I thought back to almost a year earlier when my father had passed away. I was wrecked, lost, confused and out of it. But a few days after the funeral my Mom made a joke about him, and I laughed. Which my Dad loved to do. Which has given George Carlin, the movie Airplane! and even the music of Tina Turner places in my life, my Dad liked them, I hear it think of him, and enjoy them in different ways than I had before. Art has that power, to allow a person to feel emotions, even if the art wasn't created the way you feel them. Peter Coviello, essayist, writer and Professor at the University of Illinois Chicago discusses these feeling and more in his collection Is There God after Prince?: Dispatches from an Age of Last Things, about enjoying the things that make us feel, even as the world gets uglier and one day closer to ending.
The book begins with a celebration of music, discussing a band that I was unfamiliar with, the band Wussy, performing a song entitled 'Teenage Wasteland'. Coviello writes about the lead singer's ability to entrance, to lock the listener in to the lyrics and feel emotions and freedoms that are hard to describe. The power of art is here, and Coviello lists other bands, songs, movies and books that give that same feeling, feelings that might only be true for him, but strong feelings nonetheless. The first essay is a look at the artist Prince, how at one of the lowest points in Coviello's life, Prince brought him not only a killer party, but a love and a family. Coviello discusses how he found out Prince died, the feelings that he and others had, and also how these feelings can still help a person get through. And why art is important, even as things don't go the way anyone seems to want them.
The book is a collection of previously published essays so some ideas might be repeated. However Coviello is a very good writer, with a lot to say , with a lot of examples, examples that will open people up to some interesting music, books, and other works. Coviello has similar tastes to me, so I was thrilled finding out new things. Even though this could be considered literary criticism, the writing is more a celebration of what one can enjoy and what one can feel. The style is very conversational, in fact this reminded me a lot of talking about music and books in the store with customers I actually look forward to interacting with. A book that leaves the reader with a lot to think about, and even more to explore.