Madison Smartt Bell   Anything Goes  
Madison Smartt Bell  
Read an Excerpt from Anything Goes

Reading by  Madison Smartt Bell

Read an essay by Madison Smartt Bell


Anything Goes is the story Jesse, a twenty-something who passes his days touring with his band, crashing in moldy motel rooms, and meeting women with whom he admittedly wants nothing more than a one night stand. He manages to keep a safe distance from his abusive father. He drinks too much. He's happy with his life.

All of a sudden it all begins to unravel. The tendonitis in his hands grows so bad that his fingers turn into "broken matchsticks," rendering him helpless to play the guitar. His father is suddenly back in his life, offering compassion and a gleaming, completely refurbished Mustang. Jesse wakes up with a strange woman in a motel room one morning and realizes he needs to make some changes in his life. "It occurred to me that maybe I didn't want to be doing this type of thing-from the belt up, anyway," Jesse acknowledges. "Like it was something I just let myself get maneuvered into, path of least resistance, don't you know." Madison Smartt Bell's reliable, tight prose permeates this novel, as do themes of race, class, and family. In this issue of Bold Type, listen to music composed by Madison Smartt Bell and poet Wyn Cooper, and read an essay by Bell on how this music inspired his novel.

Cara Hall

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  Photo credit: Marion Ettlinger

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