More Towels

In Between the Notes

More Towels by Grant Jarrett
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One of four younger brothers of a gifted and celebrated jazz pianist, our less exceptional protagonist begins his journey of discovery at the age of seventeen, leaving his home in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains to travel with a laughably bad, self-contained show band, “led by Fred Waring Jr., the recovering alcoholic son of a had-been bandleader and blender inventor whose limited celebrity dissolved in the nineteen-fifties even more swiftly than it materialized in the forties.”

As he travels back and forth across the continent with a series of mostly unremarkable bands—bands with names such as, “Love, Peace, and Soul” and “Natural Feelin'”—he encounters a world wherein talent is far less essential than a charming smile and the willingness to wear a ruffled polyester shirt, a world wherein getting laid is far more enjoyable, and a hell of a lot easier than learning to play music or sustaining a meaningful relationship.

Beautiful young women and angry husbands litter his voyage; there are violent assaults and hilarious confrontations, and through it all, as he searches desperately for something or someone to believe in—rarely finding anything more than a passionate diversion—he shares his intensely cynical view of himself and the world around him. Though its pages are filled with humor, More Towels is an honest and often touching coming-of-age story, a story of growth and acceptance and the many battles along the way.

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