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1968 Vietnam Social turmoil Drugs Music Four young musicians are determined to escape a ravaged industrial landscape by playing rock and rolland they play it with a passion and brilliance that contrasts with their poverty Music is the only hope they haveSet against a fleeting age when music seemed about to change the world Robert Paston's The Hour of the Innocents tells the story of the band known as The Innocents and captures the true drama of the late 1960s—not the glitter of famous names but the yearning of the heartland guitarists and drummers who believedand the lovers friends and lives crushed along the way

10 thoughts on “The Hour of the Innocents

  1. says:

    I received an advanced reading copy of this from Forge Books via the Goodreads' First Reads Giveaway programI was hot and cold with this novel though mostly warmI love anything to do with late 60searly 70s rock It's my favourite time for music I'm also a sucker for any novel or non fiction for that matter that digs into band dynamics especially with an up and coming bandSo this was a novel tailor made for my reading pleasure And mostly it delivered The era the lower class town just waiting to be escaped the drugs the womenall of it came across beautifully On par with them were the Vietnam flashbacks In fact Matty one of the band members as a whole was an absolutely fascinating character from start to finish What could have been a cliche instead came aliveThe other characters were also mostly well drawnI think my two concerns with the novel were first too much navel gazing reflections on dead writers Yes I get that Bark was supposed to be a wunderkind when it came to writing could toss off a written story so good that his English Lit girlfriend thinks it a plagiarism though she can't name the source but the constant name dropping got a touch tediousThe second thing was actually two sides of a whole On one hand the author would take us through incredibly detailed scenes that really didn't have a lot to do with the story Then apropos of nothing he'd toss a line out for some very important scene that happens offstage and it's never really referred to again though it's obviously a game changer The one I remember the most and I apologize for the crassness of it but it's a uote was when Bark the narrator stated On Monday I told Laura to wash her cuntI don't know about you but when one person states that to another when they've politely chatted through most of the relationship up to now that's going to redefine how each looks at the other going forward And yet thought it's stated there's no true ramificationsThese honestly are smaller uibbles because mostly the book is well written The music scenes are as they should be a particular standoutOverall I'd absolutely recommend this novel to any fan of so called classic rock

  2. says:

    Note The rating I gave is 4 stars because it had to be in whole numbers but I felt like this book was of a 45 star readI received this book as a Goodreads' First Read and I want to thank the author for giving me a chance to read this novel The Hour of the Innocents is a historical fiction with a literary twist The book is told from the perspective of Will aka Bark and follows the rise and fall of a band called The Innocents during the turmoil of the 1960s Will may be the protagonist but in a way he is a foil as well; a large amount of the plot revolves around Will’s friend and rival MattyThe author has a good fluid writing style with a strong voice The poetic music lyrics were enjoyable and well written There were a few times where the style tried too hard to be literary and dropped a few too many names but thankfully these occurrences were few and far between The novel does a good job of catching the essence of the time period Romance sex and drugs all play a role in the story The plot was slightly predictable but that did not detract from the enjoyment of the story The pacing was engaging and not too slow The one criticism I have of the plot is that it leaves a few angles unexplored and under developed; certain elements of the ending felt like they could have been explored fullyThis was very much a character driven story The characterization approach reminded me of the author Tamiki Wakaki and how he wrote the manga series The World God Only Knows By this I mean that the author managed to take somewhat cliché character stereotypes and developed them into realistic and complex people Overall this was a highly enjoyable read with deeper undertones I would certainly recommend this to other readers

  3. says:

    The Hour of the Innocents is the story of Will and the band The Innocents and their desire to make it in a moment where music was having a major role in history It's a story about many things you have friendship growing up family post war life and so much I liked the portrayal of the era you can feel the sixties in the air and the author created a story that really reflects the moment I also liked the songs I wanted to listen to them and really hear how they soundI didn't like the book as much as I would have liked There was something in the story that lost me for moments I mean the characters are good and you can feel the author admiration for this musical era but for me it felt too documentary for moments and I lost the pace I like in fiction books I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review

  4. says:

    Just didn't do it for me though I'm not sure why It should have ticked all my boxes music time period East Coast working classetc But it felt hollow to me Factor in that I had the flu while reading

  5. says:

    I received an advanced reading copy of this from Forge Books via the Goodreads' First Reads Giveaway programI ignorantly assumed that the Tor and Forge imprints of Macmillan were both for science fiction and fantasy exclusively The Hour of the Innocents then came as a surprise as I made my way into the novel and realized this wasn’t the case Yet this unmet expectation may have actually enhanced my enjoyment and appreciation of the novel because that was the only real unexpected element in this reading experience This fictional story of a late 1960′s rock band is grounded in a historical reality the characters are familiar types and the plot proceeds fairly predictably However for all its familiarity Paston writes the novel with a passionate authenticity and clear voice making it a piece of nostalgic entertainment with bittersweet fondness for an era of extreme power both high and lowEach of the characters is an archetype of rock music – the wild frontman who sings the strong silent type guitar player with exceptional musical talent the level headed keeps to himself drummer and the songwriter full of self doubt They all share in a common hope a dream of making it success that will give them the freedom to just write and play music that can soothe their souls and touch others The Hour of the Innocents is about the birth of this all and the rough road of imperfect personalities and troubled actions that lie in the path to realization of that dreamWhat ends up occurring in the novel is therefore no big surprise given the set up What makes it work is precisely how true to life how familiar Paston writes it You can tell that Paston is just as passionate about the music and this time as his charactersThough brief the chapters dealing with Vietnam directly or its aftermath are vivid and moving and are examples of the uniue moments in the novel the verses to the familiar band member interaction refrains of the compositionThe Hour of the Innocents will be of interest to anyone with an appreciation for rock music and its history and to those who would appreciate the backdrop of the era as setting for literary exploration of character interaction as long as the character familiarity and plot predictability can be overlooked for enjoyment of the journey

  6. says:

    At risk of plagiarizing myself I copied my Sept 2015 review wminor edits I’m generally skeptical about rock roll books especially novels It’s a myth laden avenue of culture that’s all too easy for an author to fake It’s possible to do a creditable job of “exposing” the myth but such tomes usually base themselves on the worn out touchstones of a generation that sold itself out and whose main contribution to popular music is the eually worn out “Classic Rock” genre that offers too much “Evil Ways” or “Layla” too many times a day Robert Paston’s “The Hour of the Innocents” doesn’t fake it There’s nothing glamorous or easy about this story Paston understands what the late 1960s music environment was about and that most bands and musicians of that era had no chance to “make it” The fact that they tried under the weights of the Vietnam War and the tight oppressions of working class sensibilities was the only real hope many of them had Given this motivation optimism soon became the road to pessimism In his book “Rock and the Pop Narcotic” Joe Carducci convincingly made the case that all rock bands are doomed to failure There may be exceptions but few ideas are as true as this Face it most musical legends of the 60s and 70s died in their heyday or got horribly burned out and even “The King” kicked the bucket whilst on the throne Paston knows what it’s like to be in a working band and “The Hour of the Innocents” is written beneath the surface with details accurate enough to see and hear and the personal relationships are as uncomfortable as ever In the sense that music was never meant to be perfect this debut novel stands slouches hits escape velocity and when it’s over it’s over Such is the nature of rock roll and I wouldn’t have it any other way

  7. says:

    It’s 1968 the Vietnam War era A local Pennsylvania band is trying to make it big Frankie the charismatic lead singer and bass player Stosh the drummer and money handler Mattie the dynamic lead guitar player and Vietnam vet and Will the song writer and guitar player This is a well written character driven novel that manages to capture a small period in our history The story is told in Will’s voice and it works well because Will is the outsider of the band the last one to join who was afraid that Mattie’s return from the Army would be the end for him but he writes their songs and they need him like they need Mattie’s wild guitar riffs and Frankie’s outrageous front man behavior and now they can feel that their time has come Finally offered a chance to prove they have what it takes to make it that it’s their time untilThe author has captured that moment when this struggling band is trying to succeed amidst the war hippies drugs sex anger love and self destruction This book expresses the feeling of impending doom that colored everything that was happening during that period Then there’s the music that’s always there in the background which was so much a part of that timeThe author truly did a very good job of recreating a time when a generation of kids escaped the reality of the Vietnam War with drugs and sex and rock’n’roll Well doneThis book was won in a First Reads giveaway

  8. says:

    I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review I flat out liked this book This book was different for me The book is set during Vietnam when the music scene was changing in America The book centers around the characters that make up the band The Innocents I found myself not getting attached to any one character as much as I found myself attached to the band But the band had to have each person to make their magic that story is really well done I can't wait to read by this author

  9. says:

    I really liked this book The author does a good job of recreating the era The characters are interesting though somewhat predictable The story is a little predictable as well but the author tells it in such a convincing way that it doesn't matter The musical descriptions actually had me reminiscing my garage band days Readers may complain of some story threads that aren't fully explored but it makes sense in the context of the story This book may not be for everyone but I think anyone with an appreciation of rock music and its history will enjoy it

  10. says:

    Thanks to NetGalley and Forge books for a free advance download of The Hour of the Innocents I enjoyed The Hour of the Innocents This novel is set in Pennsylvania during the Vietnam War era The author covers the music and drug culture well enough and crooked law enforcement in Appalachia too The poetry throughout is a nice addition I don't know that it had enough redeeming value to give it than three stars but I would recommend this one to my music loving reader friends