THE LEISURE SEEKEr,
the LOST TIKI PALACES
Set in early 1970s Detroit, a divided city still reeling from the violent unrest of the summer of '67, Beautiful Music is the story of one young man’s transformation through music. Danny Yzemski is a husky, pop radio–loving loner balancing a dysfunctional home life with the sudden harsh realities of freshman year at a high school marked by racial turbulence. But after tragedy strikes the family, Danny’s mother becomes increasingly erratic and angry about the seismic cultural shifts unfolding in her city and the world. As she tries to hold it together with the help of Librium, highballs, and breakfast cereal, Danny finds his own reason to carry on: rock and roll. In particular, the heavy music of local legends like the MC5 and Iggy Pop. Beautiful Music is a funny, poignant story about the power of music and its ability to save one’s soul.
"Danny Yzemski tunes out a dysfunctional family with Frank Zappa and Iggy Pop, shaking his countercultural fist at The Man in this eight-track flashback of a novel set in 1970s Detroit."
--O, the Oprah Magazine, Summer Reading Picks/One of 'O's Top Books of Summer
Adult Fiction Winner for the 2018 Great Lakes Great Reads program
-Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association.
"Beautiful Music is a sweet and endearing coming-of-age tale measured in album tracks." -The Wall Street Journal
"Beautiful Music, the elegiac third novel from Michael Zadoorian, who won critical acclaim for The Leisure Seeker. Zadoorian captures the inner and outer life of Danny Yzemski with perfect pitch...a novel that lingers."
--Santa Barbara Independent
"For Danny, cracking the seal on a fresh piece of wax and dissecting cover art and liner notes are acts of nigh religious experience that unveil to him a community of fellow rockers across Detroit...It's in these small moments--a lonely boy experiencing premature nostalgia--that Zadoorian shines." --Washington Post
“Michael Zadoorian is the rare novelist whose prose crackles with the energy of the best rock ‘n’ roll.”—Jim DeRogatis, author of Let It Blurt: Life & Times of Lester Bangs
"[A] raucous bildungsroman . . . Zadoorian touches on white flight, iconic radio stations, and the racial history of Detroit, but remains rooted in [protagonist] Danny’s transition out of his shell. With its echoes of works by Nick Hornby and Stephen Chbosky, Zadoorian’s ebullient novel is full of energy, pain, growth, and great music."
“Michael Zadoorian has captured an era when Detroit simmered with anger and fear while it simultaneously reverberated with the joyous noise of rock and roll.”
—Don Was, Grammy–winning producer/musician
“Zadoorian shows how music has kept the region’s heart beating—especially Detroit’s—even in the most crushing and confusing of times.”
—Dean Bakopoulos, author of Summerlong
“Cannily evokes how music transforms teenage identity.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Soulful, funny, transporting, and often electrifying.” —Davy Rothbart
“Beautiful Music is not only a testament to the rockin’ jams that propelled Motown to become reknown as Detroit Rock City, it swells with the beautiful music of a lively soul . . . Beautiful Music is touching, hilarious, and heartbreaking, much like the gamut of emotions you may have felt the first time you heard your favorite song. And much like that first, mind-opening musical experience, you’ll return to certain passages within this novel because like the perfect song, it hits all the right notes — something you can feel deep in your gut.” --Michigan Quarterly Review
“Beautiful Music is painted with rich, exquisite detail and all the painful hyperawareness of growing up in a culture of mixed signals, confusion and loss.”—Nancy Wilson, guitarist, Heart
“A crossover delight with appeal to both adults and teens.” –Booklist
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John and Ella Robina have shared a wonderful life for more than 50 years. In their 80s, Ella suffers from cancer and has chosen to stop treatment. John has Alzheimer’s. Yearning for one last adventure, the self-proclaimed “down-on-their-luck geezers” kidnap themselves from the adult children and doctors who run their lives and steal off from their home in suburban Detroit on a forbidden vacation of rediscovery.
“This is a purely character-driven novel, and Ella is a remarkable creation…The Leisure Seeker is pretty much like life itself: joyous, painful, funny, moving, tragic, mysterious, and not to be missed.” --Booklist (Starred)
“Zadoorian is true to these geezers. He draws them in their most honest light…I hoped for a book that would make me laugh during these tight times and I was rewarded.”--Los Angeles Times
“Michael Zadoorian's bittersweet story about two runaways who are in their 80s and in failing health could be a lovely film… It’s On the Road with shorter sentences and less drugs and sex.” --USA Today
"Zadoorian has captured an American icon in the forthright and feisty Ella…Read it before it becomes the next big thing.” --Tampa Tribune
“Ella’s wise, feisty voice turns what could be a sappy melodrama into an authentic and funny love story.” --Publishers Weekly
“A bittersweet fable of the golden years likely to offer consolation to readers who’ve ever known anyone old, or plans to get old themselves.”
“An affectionate, clear-eyed peek at a pair of self-styled “down-on-their-luck geezers” who just aren’t ready to go gentle into that good night.”
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