Moving between the landscapes of fictional Runion, North Carolina, and Nashville's Music Row, Gabriel's Songbook follows a songwriter and singer through his search for fame and belonging. As he juggles ambition, love, and occasional despair, he finds that his dream of success and his love of music become increasingly at odds.
About the Author
Michael Amos Cody is a professor in the Department of Literature and Language at East Tennessee State University. After working as a songwriter in Nashville, he earned his PhD in English from the University of South Carolina. His short fiction has appeared in The Tampa Review, Yemassee, and other publications, and his albums include Homecoming and Wonderful Life. Gabriel’s Songbook is his first novel.
What a wonderful book! Artistic ambition, first love, small-town Appalachian life, the image-obsessed machinations of the Nashville music industry: all ring so authentic, so true. Michael Amos Cody’s first novel is gripping, poignant, and unforgettable.
—Jeff Mann, author of "Country"
I came to care for these characters so much I wished I could step into the book and warn Gabriel and Eliza of the perils ahead of them, or to sit in the audience and hear the searching songs Gabriel sings. Michael Amos Cody shows a care with how his characters speak, and how they interact with one another, that gives the novel both a poetic charge and a lived-in authenticity. Gabriel’s Songbook resonates like a great ballad, a song of love and struggle that keeps chiming in the ears long after the final note is played.
—Jesse Graves, author of "Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine" and "Basin Ghosts"
Michael Amos Cody writes with the vivid clarity of one who has made it through the punishing Nashville grind and survived, and the passion of a true believer in the power and beauty of the music itself. Behind the glaring lights of Nashville, the late nights, seedy managers and bad deals, is a beautiful tale of redemption and a love story that will stick with you long after the novel is finished.
Cody is not just a wonderful writer but a top-notch musician and songwriter as well, and that musicality is in evidence on every page—from the heartfelt lyrics that occasionally punctuate the action, to simple moments like a haircut shared between estranged lovers. This is the best novel of the music business I’ve come across in a very long time.
—Mark D. Baumgartner, Editor, "Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature"
Michael Amos Cody writes with a strong, authentic voice about the Appalachia I know. There is no posturing or exaggeration here. Instead, this is a book that strives after Hemingway’s maxim to write one true sentence, and Cody does that without fail. "Gabriel’s Songbook" is a novel full of heart and longing and it deserves its distinguished place on the shelf with some of the best stories of the region. I hope it is the first of many more books about Runion, North Carolina.
—Charles Dodd White, author of "A Shelter of Others" and "Lambs of Men"