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The Smiths' Meat Is Murder


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About the Author

Joe Pernice is the singer-songwriter behind The Pernice Brothers. His previous band was The Scud Mountain Boys, and he has also recorded under the name Chappaquiddick Skyline. He runs his own record label and has also published a book of poetry.


"Meat is Murder is a page-scorcher, especially when you see Pernice's own experiences practically oozing from the text." Filter magazine "Effectively captures the crushing blows and dizzying triumphs of adolescence, particularly the sense of urgency involved in matters of young love." The Berlin Daily Sun "Pernice captures the essence of the anglophile UK indie lovers that exist in little groups all over North America...Pernice's novella captures [the] feelings of the despair of possibility, of rushing out to meet the world and the world rushing in to meet you, and the price of that meeting. As sound tracked by the Smiths." Drowned in Sound "The novella by the leader of the lush, sad-eyed indie-pop band the Pernice Brothers is full of mordant wit and real heartache. And his fictional (though heavily autobiographical) tale of a tortured Massachusetts high school student who finds solace by listening to Morissey is a dead-on depiction of what it feels like when pop music articulates your pain with an elegance you could never hope to muster [H]is tale of a lonesome boy, a Walkman, and Meat is Murder does a brilliant job of capturing how, in a world that doesn't care, listening to your favorite album can save your life." The Philadelphia Inquirer "With his astute perceptions and graceful language, the guy [Pernice] can write circles around most of the popular novelists today, and then whack them in the head later on with his melody." Nighttimes.com "Local singer/songwriter and now first-time novelist Joe Pernice seems to have near total emotional recall, in the same way a great athlete possesses top-notch muscle memory. The result is that the bulk of his creative output proves to be as viscerally convincing as it is deeply felt His emotionally precise imagery can be bluntly, chillingly personal His well-developed sense of character, plot and pacing shows that he has serious promise as a novelist." Weekly Dig "His (Pernice's) perceptive, poetic ear for unpicking the work
"The story never reaches a true resolution, but that's part of the pleasure of it Pernice takes pains to capture a teenage voice, although the language refrains from self-pity the dramatic uncertainty of the language holds together the narrative." The Columbia Spectator "However autobiographical this story might be, it's never predictable or less than heartfelt. The narrator's classmates are sketched fondly, his teachers with a little healthy malice and the music with great affection." Newsday "An essential purchase for any fan of good new rock-write in general - a slim, confessional novella equal to anything written by Nick Hornby. " Bandoppler Magazine "It is beautifully written." The Times (London) "Continuum knew what they were doing when they asked songwriter Joe Pernice to pay homage to the Smith's Meat is Murder." Austin American-Statesman "Fans of Pernice's lyrical work in the Pernice Brothers and Scud Mountain Boys will find the same qualities of his lyrical wordplay used here, equal parts bitter and sweet Pernice excels at evoking the feeling that almost any listener of underground music first has when encountering it, of stumbling onto a vein of something previously unknown, but far more immediate than anything that's come before." -Tobias Carroll, Earlash, 01/21/04 " Pernice writes about the album the only way a true teenager would-clumsily, overflowing with enthusiasm and praise, and beautifully the novella is a wonderfully brief, swift read that nevertheless is as powerful as the greatest of EPs." -Andrew Unterberger, Stylus magazine, 1/1/3/04
"my personal favorite of the batch has to be Joe Pernice s autobiographic-fiction fantasia on The Smiths Meat Is Murder. Stirring, evocative reading, and like the other two books, it made me want to seek out and hear the music again. Michael Layne Heath, Tangents
"What is it about the Smiths that prompts otherwise sane men to take an 80s youth that heaven knows was miserable then and turn it into a memoir? This singer-songwriter pens a pleasant semi-autobio about how this witty band's least-witty moment saved him from Catholic school, Reaganism and playing the bass poorly B" Austin American-Statesman, 10/17/04
"Meat is Murder is as droll as any of his songs, as its asthmatic narrator recounts his days in a Catholic high school outside Boston in 1985 and how his life was changed by the discovery of the Smith's third album-on cassette, of course. His descriptions of friends are priceless and sweet " -Kathleen Wilson, The Stranger, November 19, 2003
mentioned in The Boston Herald
this short, unassuming novella of 102 small pages captures more of youth, with all its painful, mad obsessions and enthusiasms, and all its longueurs, than any number of much longer books. If you ve ever been young and in love with a band, you have to read Meat is Murder. Bookslut, 3/9/05
Joe Pernice s take on the Smiths Meat is Murder might be the best in the series thus far Part Dazed and Confused and part Virgin Suicides, the book is a funny, elegiac rumination on the pains and perils of adolescence and the anodyne that certain albums can be to an outsider being smothered by dullness and angst By fashioning his criticism as fiction, Pernice comes closest to evoking the transporting and restorative effect a song can have. - The Boston Phoenix, 7/8/04--Mike Miliard
Mention in review of Joe Pernice's new book 'It feels so good when I stop.' Australia.tmcnet.com 2/8/09

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