Re-reading Edson

The first book that ever kept me up all night because I just couldn't put it down was Edson by Bill Morrissey, who is better known as a songwriter. The book went out of print quickly, but is generally available on Amazon and other used marketplaces. I first read it to prepare to interview Morrissey ahead of a reading at a bookshop. I bought eight copies to gift at that event; I think the author got tired of signing them.

Edson is about Henry Corvine, a songwriter who quit the misery of writing and the hardship of touring in favor of the happy, stable life of a married 20-something. When his marriage ends – he's 37 now – he takes the summer to fish on a boat in Alaska and then returns to the small mill town of Edson, New Hampshire, where the snow starts early, there's one convenience store, everybody knows everybody else, and a young songwriter is getting popular singing Henry's old songs without giving him credit.

When a young woman – who lives next to Henry in a residential hotel – discovers Henry's records in that young songwriter's apartment, things change for Henry. When the mill closes unexpectedly and moves south, things change for Edson.

What I love about this book is that Morrissey's words feel like a change in seasons. His voice (singing and speaking) feels like winter is coming on, and so does the air here in Syracuse. This might become an annual ritual for me as we head toward winter.

If you can find a copy, I highly recommend reading it, with a cup of something warm nearby.


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