Song for Chance

, Author
John Van Kirk
MFA
Red Hen Press, 2013

Keyboard man Jack Voss spends his evenings in the relative sanctuary of the clubs, playing jazz standards on the piano and occasionally singing some of the songs that made him famous. His 1974 rock opera, The Enchanted Pond, catapulted his band, Vossimilitude, into the stratosphere of rock superstardom. Later, solo albums earned him a reputation as a musician's musician. Reverence for his genius led his shortcomings--as a husband, father, and friend--to be forgiven, or at least overlooked.

But when his life of comparative comfort and solitude is rocked by a devastating personal loss, Voss is led back to The Enchanted Pond. The story of an ill-fated love triangle based on the tense relations between Voss, his childhood girlfriend Avery, and Vossimilitude's dangerous and charismatic bassist, Hal Proteus, Voss's masterpiece set him on a path to this day of reckoning. To endure, he must confront the tragic consequences of his self-absorption on the only firm ground left him: the piano.

With the sure, unsentimental narrative command of writers like Richard Russo and Jonathan Franzen, John Van Kirk has brought to life in Song for Chance not just a fallen rock god, but--with the help of liner notes, bonus tracks, and the complete Voss discography--the whole sex, drugs, and rock and roll era with an immediacy so recognizable that it feels like yesterday.