Format: Trade Paperback
Dimensions: 384 pages, 8.75 × 6.35 × 0.68 in
Published: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Soho Press
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1616955333
ISBN - 13: 9781616955335
Read from the Book
The aluminum bat leaned against the garage wall, next to a rake and a hoe and four bicycles with flat tires and rusty chains.… I didn’t think it over, just grabbed the thing by its handle and kept walking, out the back door and down the driveway, cutting onto the sidewalk, all the while possessed by a harsh internal music. Tonight’s was midtempo and repetitive, a minor key blaring silently and in time with each footfall. Just about anywhere, anytime, there’d be a song in mind, and I never tired of moving notes, shifting the rhythms, sliding one chord into the next. I’d do this at work, at family dinners, while listening to my girlfriend Lauren on the phone—no one suspected the storm of guitars happening in my thoughts. As a kid sitting in church pews I’d written my earliest songs, reinventing the solemn melodies of the Catholic mass as dramatic rock epics of mayhem and destruction. They’d always sounded best in the low ranges, and the one I was hearing tonight was no exception. I saw the bass tones waving out to drench whatever was before me: houses and parked cars, the roadside mailboxes lining the street. Twelve-something a.m. The kind of boiler-hot Michigan night we got once or so a year. After a couple blocks, as if surrendering to the trance, I veered curbward and cocked my e
From the Publisher
Eighteen-year-old Sean Madigan Hoen was struggling to keep his
involvement in the city's hardcore punk scene a secret from his
family. Then he learned that his father, too, had a second life-as
a crack addict.
Songs Only You Know begins in the ''90s and spans a
decade during which the family fights to hold itself together.
Sean's father cycles from rehab to binge, his heartsick sister
spirals into depression, and his mother works to spare what can be
spared. Meanwhile, Sean seeks salvation in a community of
eccentrics and outsiders, making music Spin
magazine once referred to as "an art-core mindfuck."
But the closer Sean comes to realizing his musical dream, the
further he drifts from his family and himself.
By turns heartbreaking and mordantly funny, Songs Only
You Know is a fierce, compassionate rendering of the chaos and
misadventure of a young man's life.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Sean Madigan Hoen was raised in Dearborn, Michigan and spent his
young adulthood touring and recording in several Detroit-based
music groups, including Thoughts of Ionesco, The Holy Fire and
Leaving Rouge. His fiction has appeared in numerous publications,
including BOMB Magazine, where he was awarded the
2011 Fiction Award. He has taught creative writing at Columbia
University and currently resides in Brooklyn, New
York. Songs Only You Know: A Memoir is his first
A Flavorwire Must-Read Book A Minnesota Public Radio Best Book "Unsettling and riveting... Prompts us to reflect on our own demons, and how we''ve tried to—and perhaps succeeded in—exorcising them. The grit and guts of Songs Only You Know goad us into this introspection and stir anticipation for his next book." —Time Out New York "A Kerouac-like saga fueled with energy and ecstasy. [Hoen] chronicles the small audience clubs and cities through an alcohol- and drug-addled haze. Don’t be fooled that this might be strictly a wild ride about the punk music scene because it certainly isn’t.... Ultimately, it is the honesty and passion with which he writes that overwhelms the reader." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Eschewing rock ’n’ roll memoir stereotypes, Songs doesn’t glorify sex and drugs, instead exploring the harder parts of romance and addiction... the reader is exposed to every inch of Hoen’s struggle with keeping his family together through near-insurmountable circumstances while trying to keep his personal life in some semblance of order and keep his musical flame from being extinguished. It’s a compelling, engrossing read." —Alternative Press "A moving, often harrowing story that''s much more than just a tour diary of the Detroit hardcore scene in which Hoen grew up." — Revolver Magazine “Songs Only You Know screams at you, its limbs flail, and parts of it provoke a visceral r