What did Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and my sister have in common? They were all my friends, and they died.
Timely Persuasion follows an anonymous music critic on a quest to save his sister from the relationship that ended her life. After a chance encounter at a bowling alley leaves him with the ability to travel in time, our hero uses his musical knowledge to “blink” through the years attempting to keep the couple apart by any means necessary. But is her husband Nelson really to blame?
Along the way he launches a new folk rock star, accidentally restructures his family tree, and crosses paths with the likes of Huey Lewis, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and Billy Joel. Reliving past events through the eyes of his younger selves, he soon finds that correlation and causation are not always what they seem. This story of death, life, love, and rock 'n’ roll defies genre conventions while paying tribute to the classic time travel tales that came before it.
"Good travel companion" I just finished Timely Persuasion and found that I just couldn't put it down. I actually missed my subway stop once. I'm not one for sci fi books but the musicology and focus on the interpersonal relationships of the protagonist had me intrigued. The time travel details get a bit confusing at times but it doesn't take away from the actually story of the quest our hero is on to save his sister. This would make a fabulous movie with a kick ass soundtrack. I often found myself googling the author's musical references for the full effect. It is a good read for a plane trip or vacation.
"Timely Persuasion for the average reader" I have read a lot of books and feel that I have a decent ability to analyze a story but I am by no means a professional and got this book for personal use. With that, I gotta say, I loved the book. I was into this book. I couldn't believe how I lost track of time. There is one particular aspect I really enjoyed and I'll do my best to convey it. I really enjoy books that convey an intelligence where it is clear the author isn't trying to be intelligent. It is just natural with the writing. I also enjoy that aspect even more when an author can be intelligent but within the same novel not be afraid to attempt wit and a humor that is, how do I say this, like buddies chatting in a bar. I don't know how many books I have read where I feel the author is trying too hard to be smart and also trying to hard to be "cool/hip/funny" and it really hinders the flow of the novel. I also really enjoyed the cause and effect of what was... More > going on and how it continued to get more complex. I think it would have been easy to over simplify this story and really would have made it weaker in my mind (that being said I'm sure there was a compromise and no end to how complex it could have gotten, so praises for not making smoke come out of my ears either). Again, I don't at all profess to be any sort of expert or source in literature. But from a regular guy who enjoys reading, music and some sci-fi this was a great read.< Less
"A good summer movie" Timely Persuasion reflects a peculiar phenomenon that is common in mass-market releases, where hired gun publicists write the back-cover copy, but is less usual in the do-it-yourself POD world. To be blunt, Timely Persuasion's misleading plot blurb (as seen above) makes a fun novel sound absolutely cheesy. Based on the official description (with its promise that the hero is "friends" with Cobain and Hendrix and also "crosses paths" with assorted other rock luminaries), I suspected that Timely Persuasion would be a series of trite wish-fulfillment trysts between a thinly-veiled author-stand-in protagonist and his musical idols, which in the end would add up to little more than a collection of fanboy fantasies. Happily, Timely Persuasion absolutely does not go down this road. The conceit of the novel is that time travel is possible to any date that resonates strongly in the traveler's memory. For our time-traveling protagonist, those... More > days often have rock music significance. However, our hero does not actually interact with his music idols. Rather, although his remembrances of important music dates are the springboard from which he launches his travels through time, they really are just the backdrop to his real mission: to prevent his sister's suicide. And so Timely Persuasion ends up being much more enjoyable than the the above description had led me to expect. The writing is professional and polished, and author Jacob LaCivita does an admirable job keeping the complex mechanics of his recursive plot clear for the reader. At times his exposition is a bit too blunt, as one character will spell-out for another exactly what is going on. But that's really no different than Doc Brown drawing on the blackboard to explain the intricacies of time travel for Marty in Back to the Future Part II. And Timely Persuasion is clearly a summer movie at heart. Of course, as I've mentioned before, big-studio summer films are known for being fun and clever, but also for ultimately being disposable. Indeed, Timely Persuasion raises a number of intriguing issues that it never fully explores. For example, the narrator at one point funnels hit songs from the future to a singer from the past, in order to advance the past performer's career. He expressly recognizes that in doing so, he is effectively depriving the future (original) artists of writing (or profiting from) their own songs. Maybe it's just me, but I find the implications of that fascinating (not just in the chicken-and-the-egg paradox sense; what I really find interesting is the ethical and artistic issues). And so perhaps it is unfair of me to criticize LaCivita for staying focused on the tale he wanted to tell, rather than going off on a tangent that I was interested in. But it is very frustrating to have interesting themes explicitly raised, only to be quickly brushed off to the side. Nonetheless, high-concept films and novels definitely have their place, and Timely Persuasion fits solidly in that category. I enjoyed it for its substantial cleverness, breezy style, and pleasingly convoluted plot, which had just enough pathos at the end to give the journey some substance. If I'm a bit dissatisfied with Timely Persuasion, it is only because I would have liked more focus on some of the side-issues. But even as the novel stands, it is great for beach reading, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, I would still change that back jacket copy.< Less
"LaCivita is a bloody genius !!" How did he come up with this stuff?! To me this time travel idea was something I had never seen before. Very original indeed. The use of song lyrics was great. The idea of covering songs that had not even been written yet, was always something that I thought I'd do if I could go back in time. I would write all the hits. LOL! In parts I did find it complex, all the paradoxical stuff, but I did get it, I think :) Very, very clever indeed. LaCivita is definitely a great writer, with brilliant ideas. If I have one tiny criticism, there could have been tiny bits of fat chopped, eg. when he plays all the card games by himself in the cell, and lists everything. There were a couple of things like that that could have been chopped, but that is a very minor thing, and just my view point. I can totally see this book as a movie. All in all, fantastic !!
"the time has come" I’ve dreaded writing this review because I know the guy that wrote the book. I was afraid I’d have to fill this post with lots of platitudes and niceties that wouldn’t really get at my true opinion. Luckily, I don’t have to do that. Why? Because Timely Persuasion is actually a good read. So for those that haven’t read the other reviews out there or the cover copy, this is a story about a time traveler by accident who tries to prevent the death of his sister. Along the way he investigates one of the greatest mysteries in rock (I was sure Courtney was going to be involved, but alas… ), turns his father into a folk rock star, seriously messes around with his family history, and uncovers some suitably nefarious mad scientist stuff. And in the end learns something about what happiness really does mean. That may sound a bit vague … but you’ll just have to read the book. Now, what I didn’t like about the book was the time travel mechanic bits got a bit too... More > clucky at times. No only did I find some holes in the theories but also found my eyes glazing over a bit and skimming through it. I also found that the narrator was a bit too casual about some of the occurrences: like when he ran into one of his future/past selves locked up in an institution babbling gibberish he’s remarkably calm and pops in and out without much thought. Myself, I’d be a couple degrees above freaked out. Other reviewers have also commented on intriguing ideas (like stealing music from the future) that are some what brushed aside, and I will agree that there are points where I found myself wanting more. But even with these problems, I found myself hooked. I was quickly flipping through the book especially toward the end: the pace is quick enough and the situation intriguing enough that you get sucked into that “what’s going to happen?” question, which is the hallmark of a good read. And even though I mentioned the clunky time travel mechanics, I will say that it keeps the brain moving in a good way. The writing is very well constructed and professional (I would expect no less though). All in all, I would totally recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun book that is not too dense but not all fluff either. Because of that, this is hands-down and excellent beach book (which is where I read most of it), and would be great on a plane or on a long car trip with mom & pop. Kudos Jacob … I look forward to the next one.< Less
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