Feature

Novel of the week

Sway by Zachary Lazar

Sway by Zachary Lazar (Little Brown, $23.99)

Zachary Lazar’s brilliant second novel almost instantly calls to mind “the child-like pleasure of hearing a story you already know,” said Liz Brown in Time Out New York. “This is not cozy bedtime fare,” though. Because the novel’s three interweaving narratives feature the Rolling Stones, the Manson family, and the avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger, the tone is Brothers Grimm–dark. The satanic spirit celebrated by the late-’60s Stones “binds it all together,” said Mark Rozzo in the Los Angeles Times. “Fresh insights are hard to come by” when most authors look back on that turbulent era, but Lazar’s disturbing book acts as “a powerful, infernal prism through which to view” the period afresh. For Lazar, the freedom so arduously sought by the ’60s generation was also a license for antisocial behavior, even murder, said Charles Taylor in The New York Times. In this “elegant and intricate” novel, it’s not the intersections among the three stories that matter but the ways they echo one another. In the end, Sway is “the tale of people separated by miles or class or intellect” all “mining the same dark vein.”

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