Fictionalised account of Bob Dylan's life as told to a ghost spirit of a lynched black guy. From Russia to 9/11.
Framed by the song 'Desolation Row' the novel is a conversation between two guys in a bar. One tells his story as a series of dreamlike episodes, the other prods and comments, moves in and out of the narratives lke a judge. The story is a double of Dylan's, but the lyrics aren't his and Dylan is never named. Part 1 is about the build up - lays out the themes of torment that the performer is trying to shape. Part 2 reveals the torments that are shaped, and the way the ghosts from the past, and from his Russian/lithuanian heritage conjure up the logic of dreams that also block out his own life story. The conceit of the postcards is used to ensure that throughout everything, his success and failure, is threatened by a humilation and damnation located in histories beyond the personal - American racism, power, rampant capitalism. The book is focused on his relationship with his business manager and his creativity. That is where the drama gets played out, as well as through his maimed relationships with the various women who are both attracted and repulsed by him. Turns out he's haunted by his own ghosts.