GRACELAND: a touching, tender tale of what made a titan tick.

Posted: November 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

The alliteration in the title of this review is meant to attempt a musical lilt, as the gem of a novel that I am about to discuss is centered around the early years of a musical icon, among whose fans I am truly happy to count myself.

Elvis Presley, for he is the icon I am talking about, has undoubtedly changed the face of music, and popular culture as we know it.  We have all heard a song, seen a movie, watched a concert clip of his sheer magnetism on stage.

And yet, his private life, his innermost thoughts, are a mystery.

To our great enjoyment, there is a wonderful thing that the human mind and heart have joined forces to invent, and that wonderful thing is known as historical fiction.

I have had the distinct honour of reading a beautiful, touching, warmly eloquent novel in which the youth of Elvis Presley takes center stage and is observed from a third-person perspective, with an emphasis on the relationship with the love of his life: his mother.

Yes, it is upon this deep, most intimate bond in the life of the King that the entire novel is based, and it is a  massive success in all the ways it could be. This is a book that pulls no punches about the times that Elvis lived in: times of extreme poverty, religious fervor(explored thrillingly through a scene with a „possessed” teenage girl), and segregation. I particularly enjoyed a scene in which Elvis talks to a black blues musician about his fascination and drive toward music, and the black man highlights the opportunities that young Elvis, a white boy, could have  in that society, a society which denied black people opportunities for formal education and well-paid workplaces.   This gave me a far better and deeper sense of appreciation for what Elvis chose to do and what that choice meant for the history of music.

The novel is quite literally spotless when it comes to the recreation of language. The Southern twang of all the characters almost literally vibrates off the page, and if I did not know that Ms. Roberts is actually British, I could have sworn she was born „down South”, as Elvis himself puts it in „Polk Salad Annie.”

GRACELAND is a lovingly-crafted tribute to the most influential of musical icons in the United States of America, with a welcome emphasis on what was undeniably the most intimate bond he ever had in his life. A poignant, lyrical, gritty, heartfelt glimpse inside the heart and mind of a man who enriched hearts and challenged minds for a living. The love for music and the love for his mother come across in such a powerful manner, that readers will close the book feeling as though they were actually there with Elvis and Gladys. A masterpiece of biographical fiction. Graceland gets a SOLID ten out of five!

Thank you, Ms. Roberts! Thankyaverymuch!

Though Ms. Roberts was kind enough to send me a copy of her novel in exchange for a review, I would not do this amazing book justice if the thoughts herein were not my own. I am a better person and Elvis fan for having read it, and so will all its readers be.

 

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