In the opinion of some, beginning in the ‘20s and ending with the United States’ entry into the war at the end of ’41, New York City enjoyed an explosion of talent rivaled only by that of Renaissance Florence. Coming of age after the war, the characters of Songbook live in the afterglow of that explosion, navigating the city as they search for what is permanent in an ephemeral world. Reaching from 1919 to 2010, the novel encompasses four generations, each telling the same story in their own way; each finding and losing love as they make their own families and take their place in the world.

 

Nearing completion, the novel takes the three characters of the play and adds a fourth who brings the story into the present. Constructed as a series of interlocking stories, like the play the novel moves forwards and backwards in time, surrounding the imagined characters with real events and real people as it reconstructs a lost city.

The first four chapters, read by me. Beginning in 1920, they follow the story to 1977, introducing most of the major characters.

Chapter 1: 1920.

Chapter 2: 1949.

Chapter 3: 1977.

Chapter 4: 1977: continued.

Songs featured in the story can be heard here.

Other plays.