Songs for the New Depression is the debut novel by Kergan Edwards-Stout. It is a drama and falls under the genre of literary fiction as well as gay literature. The story is told in a first person narrative with the voice and thoughts of Gabriel Travers (Gabe). The story begins and ends in the present with a prologue and epilogue.
The story was written in an interesting manner, and we know from the beginning, or should I say the end, 1995, that something horrendous happened to Gabe that irrevocably changed him. It isn’t until the end, or should I say the beginning, 1976, that the reader finds out what happened. Each time period explored contains pivotal events in Gabe’s life. At each point Gabe faces a huge life changing event and how he chooses to react has repercussions that affect the rest of his life. Gabe is a complex character, sometimes endearing, sometimes cruel but always interesting.
This is a standalone story about one man’s journey through life. It is well written, but at times I was shocked at the explicit gay sex, although I understand that it played an important part of Gabe’s life and story. This book is not just for fans of gay literature, it is a sad and thought provoking story and I recommend Songs for the New Depression as a good read.
“Maybe the next time you meet someone, try keeping your mouth shut and your brain in neutral. Ask questions. Find out everything you can about the other person. The more rounded they become, the less easy it will be to dismiss them.”
Questions to Ponder: The decisions that Gabe made in 1976 and again in 1986 had huge repercussions on the rest of his life. Do you think he could have made different decisions at either of these times? Why do you think he choose to do what he did?