Eddie and the Cruisers

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Press: The Overlook Press; Reprint edition (October 15, 2008)
Author Name:Kluge, P. F./ Alexie, Sherman (INT)


With sparkling dialogue, superb plot and suspense that never flags this page-turner is the seminal novel of the 50’s new music―rock-and-roll―and how it changed America. 
Overlook is proud to put P.
Kluge’s classic Eddie and the Cruisers―“the book that spawned the movies”―in paperback for the first time, so it can find a new generation of readers.
Eddie and his Jersey-bred band, The Parkway Cruisers, were going places.
With an album and a few minor hits to their credit the future seemed bright until Eddie died in a fiery car crash.
Twenty years later a British rock band turns their old songs into monumental fresh hits.
With this comes a surge of interest in the surviving Cruisers and in a rumored cache of tapes that Eddie made before he died.
That's when the killing starts.

About the Author

Kluge is Writer in Residence at Kenyon College.
He is the author of Gone Tomorrow and A Call From Jersey, published by Overlook.
Two films, Dog Day Afternoon and Eddie and the Cruisers, are based on his work.


Mystery, Thriller & Suspense,Thrillers & Suspense,Suspense,Literature & Fiction,United States

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     It was a good book but nothing I would read a second time. Usually the "book" it's so much better than the movie and this just wasn't the case.
  •     It's unlikely you are coming across this book on its own. Almost certainly you've seen the movie, whether it's a favorite or something you barely remember. Likely you're wondering, is this a great book the movie made hash of, or is it a lousy novel (and that's why I'm just learning it exists) used as the basis for a decent movie? In fact, I don't think either is the case.For the record, I don't think the movie is great, and I don't think the book is great. I think they are both interesting and entertaining, and somehow unsatisfactory. But they achieve all these things in different ways. There's something fascinating and creepy about the past intruding on the present, or the possibility of a supposedly dead person turning up alive. When you read about Jim Morrison escaping to Africa or see pictures of (allegedly) Elvis inside the house at Graceland watching his own funeral, the effect is eerie rather that comforting, more like the dead intruding on life than a living person rediscovered. And both the movie and the book effectively convey this odd development in modern pop culture, the way we want the young dead stars of the past to still be alive, and yet somehow we don't.To a certain extent, the resolution in the movie is more satisfying than the more melodramatic resolution of the novel. But there are different incidents and some different characters in each. Details as far as the album Eddie was working on when he died, what lead to his death and why there is a rush to find out the truth are different. I don't really have a preference in terms of either work. The choices the book made and the choices the movie made are both "valid."Where I do have a preference is the essential theme of the two works. The movie is basically a mystery/nostalgia piece. The book is onto something more. To a certain extent, it's about "cruising" through life. Eddie's band was well named because they all love to cruise around New Jersey, taking it all in, discovering new things. It's about what happens when you cruise but don't park, don't pull in to a parking space and settle on something, don't stay committed. More than that, it's about having a moment in your life where all possibilities are ahead of you, and either you make the wrong choices, or you make the right choices but they don't work out. It's about failure, which to me is a more interesting topic. It's a rueful book, a book about the frustration in not being able to go back and have things work out differently, that there's only one time around and then the ride is over.What I'm saying is, the book is worth reading.
  •     Great read. Very different from the movie.
  •     Entertaining
  •     I've watched the movie dozens of times and it is a personal favorite. However, like so many novels that were made into movies, the book offers richer details, and more depth than...
  •     For years I loved the movie. Just had to read the book. A great companion. Close but not identical. Each adds to the other. The afterward worth reading as we'll.
  •     Almost liked it better than the movie.....great read.
  •     Different than the movie but still enjoyable
  •     While the movie does differ from the book and I had seen the movie dozens of time before reading the book, the book was enjoyable. The book is darker in detail and adds a lot more suspense, which was a big change from the light-hearted adventure \ mystery movie. If you are a fan of the movie and are an avid reader, you should read the book. If you are just a fan of the movie, you might not really enjoy the book.Eddie Lives!!!!! (Not a spoiler, just a fan comment)
  •     If you liked the movie you will be thrilled with the book.
  •     I have to say I liked the movie interpretation better. But the book is still fantastic. I loved reading the differences.
  •     Entertaining
  •     It doesn't really matter whether or not you've seen the two films or have heard John Cafferty's superb rendition of "On the Dark Side," on the radio before; neither experience is even close to actually reading the 1980 novel by author P.F. Kluge. The somber source material for the 1983 cult classic film starring Tom Berenger and Michael Pare could be called an American rock `n' roll fable, a murder mystery, a realistic (albeit fictional) memoir, and perhaps most poignantly, a ghost story. Kluge's novel very much defies conventional labels of what genre it should belong to, much like its little-seen hero, Eddie Wilson, vainly searches for a music uniquely his own vision (and ahead of its time) before destiny claims him.While reading Kluge's articulate prose written in ex-Cruiser Frank Ridgeway's first person point-of-view, I couldn't help but be reminded of Jack Kerouac's stream-of-consciousness "On the Road," narrative, which had a very similar feel to it. Much like the film adaptation (which occurs in 1981 with flashbacks to 1962-1963), Kluge's characters exist in a far more cynical, post-Watergate world than the exuberant, youthful generation of the late 1950's that Eddie Wilson so vibrantly personifies during the dawn of a new age. It seems prophetic that the defiant Eddie won't live to see the dramatic (and few for the better) changes in the lives he so greatly influenced before his apparent suicide in 1958. Even though he has limited `screen time' in the story, his somewhat ominous presence is very much felt throughout the novel.Unlike actor Michael Pare's version of the character who becomes obsessed with 19th Century French poet Arthur Rimbaud's "A Season in Hell," this Eddie is fascinated by Walt Whitman and his seminal work, "Leaves of Grass." Suffice to say, I can see why changing Whitman to Rimbaud as Eddie's artistic idol makes perfect, logical sense for a movie (not to mention, its soundtrack). Yet, the literary Eddie Wilson has the same ultimate goal as his film counterpart; succinctly, as Pare angrily retorts to Matthew Laurence's Sal Amato, "I want something great .... something nobody's ever done before!" In Kluge's book, Eddie takes a month off in the summer of 1958 to work on a mysterious, experimental project with Wendell Newton in a secluded location at Lakehurst. A week after rejoining the Cruisers, a despondent Eddie evidently dies in a car accident going 90 miles an hour across a slick bridge, and the Original Cruisers, as a result, fade into history with him.Nearly twenty years later, his ex-manager, Earl `Doc' Robbins recruits former Cruiser Frank Ridgeway's reluctant help to track down Eddie's long-lost Lakehurst tapes (assuming they even exist) after the Cruisers' music experiences an unexpected revival with that era's youth. Unlike the film, where the Cruisers are "just some guys from Jersey," as Sal Amato describes them; here, the Parkway Cruisers (yes, the Parkway Cruisers) seem perhaps more reminiscent of a Northeast version of the Eagles than the distinctive, vintage sound John Cafferty's Beaver Brown Band provides on the soundtrack.As Frank tracks down the surviving members of the band (including Wendell Newton), it appears that someone else is desperate and willing enough to commit multiple murders to get his/her hands on the missing Lakehurst tapes first. In the end, it is left up to Frank to vindicate his old friends and come to terms with regrets over his own conflicted past. Is Eddie really still alive or not? Is he in fact the culprit? Or is it Sal Amato? Or "Doc" Robbins? Or maybe Joann Carlino? Or Kenny "Just Going Through a Phase" Hopkins? Or perhaps someone completely unexpected? Who's to say? As I stated before, Kluge's haunting novel is very much a ghost story (I'm not talking about the supernatural, per se), but the restless specter of Eddie Wilson lurks over each of the surviving Cruisers.In his foreword, Native American author-poet Sherman Alexie provides an illuminating perspective about why Kluge's novel still matters today. No matter which generation you are from, the mature, nostalgic themes Kluge deftly explores are timeless in reminding readers how fateful decisions in one's youth inevitably have a way of coming full circle often when you least expect them to.For those in need of an absorbing read, please consider discovering this novel. It's well worth taking a ride with the Cruisers.
  •     If you are from New Jersey, this book takes on an added nostalgic bonus talking about the days in the 60's when Asbury Park, Seaside and other NJ shore towns were alive with music nightly every summer. It's obvious that the author spent a lot of time at the Jersey shore and cruising it's nearby towns. His description of Route 9 when it tied together the inland shore towns was great (a time before Route 9 became the "Endless Mall" highway).As for the story, if you think you know the story because you've seen the movies ("Eddie and The Cruisers" and in my opinion the excellent the sequel "Eddie Lives"), forget it. This story is so different it would take a page just to list the differences and I don't mean small details. In the book, Eddie is dead. This is not a "spoiler", it's right in the beginning of the book. They recover his body and the Cruisers all go to his funeral with Eddie's parents and Eddie's wife (yes, Eddie's wife)!! The movie is loosely based on this excellent book, very loosely.If you like movie, get this book. You'll really enjoy it.

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