Sway

Published By: Little, Brown and Company

Book Category: Fiction, Historical

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Reviewed by Carrie Spellman

Sway is a fictionalized history of different individuals in the 1960s. Some you’ll likely recognize: Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Charles Manson. Some are more memorable for their deeds, like Bobby Beausoliel, a little known actor and musician until he committed the first Manson murder. Then there’s the man who ties them all together. Kenneth Anger, creator of odd, dark, “art” films, one of which just happens to contain all of the previously mentioned people.

While Anger’s film is the tie that binds them all together, there is no discernible time line throughout this book. It’s a jumble of histories and influences, beginnings and endings, quiet dramatic moments and big memorable moments. One thought or moment leads you into the next, not necessarily chronologically.

This is a re-imagining of what made these people who they were. How Mick and Keith acquired their unique style, and what drove Brian to the edge he would never come back from. What drew Anger to the occult to begin with? What could lead an average boy like Bobby to murder? It’s a simpler look at the lives the real people might have had, before we turned them into gods.

Lazar has done a great job of blurring the line. Between actual fact, and the honesty the book seems to exude, it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fiction. You get the feeling that he was the proverbial fly on the wall, only recently able to share his knowledge.

Not having lived through the time frame, but being fascinated by it, I have to say this is a really good piece of work. You truly feel transported to that time and place, and that you’ve gotten to know these untouchable people. Which somehow makes them more iconic.

My main thought at the end of this book was: That was really good, but what just happened? Which is how I imagine a lot of people felt at the end of that time in history.

Armchair Interviews says: That was quite a time of amazing change, both good and bad.

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