Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is
a retired attorney and co-founder of a small non-profit publishing
collective: The Wessex Collective with whom she has published two short fiction collections
(A Mile in These Shoes and Three Novellas) and one
Her most recent novel, The Secret of A Long Journey is soon to be released by Floricanto Press in April 2012 and her first novel, The Nun, originally published by Plain View Press in 1992 is being reissued in a 2nd Edition with additional material by PVP in March 2012.
Author: Frederick Pinto
Author: Frederick Pinto
The Sabbatical is not only a good read but an important read. If you are not familiar with what has happened to the music industry in the wake of the takeover by cyber technology and corporate greed, you will be educated as well as entertained and yes this book can be often quite funny in the way that survival humor is funny (if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry). If you are familiar with what has happened to the music industry, you will be nodding in agreement as you read and might be tempted to read portions out loud to anyone in your immediate vicinity. It will resonate especially with creative people: musicians, filmmakers, writers, and anyone who thinks deeply and seriously about what is going on around them. The central character, Charles Barca, is brilliant man who is essentially being kicked out of the hi tech music distribution company he had built because of his love for music. He is offered a buy out package that includes a non-compete clause, his girlfriend, an artist breaks up with him, other investors pursue him with offers to compete, other women pursue him with questionable motives. His lawyer tries to push him this way and that. He isn’t buying it and when invited to speak at an industry event in Cannes, he speaks up brilliantly for what he feels and believes. He does get “carried away” (or in another character’s words, has a “meltdown”) but his sincerity is completely inspiring so best let him speak for himself:
“In reality, we the non musicians, easily forget that music precedes the commercial arrangements used for its distribution. People made music before money even existed, and today people continue to do so even as copyright becomes a joke. The only perishable thing in the long run is the system through which the people who don’t make the music vampirize those who do. Their stranglehold is, and always has been, a temporary one, tied to the economic ebbs and flows of the day.” (p. 116)
This book is a metaphor not only for the demise of the music industry but for what has been happening to our civilization world wide:
“Consumers have never paid more to get access to their distractions. And yet, they’re also more satisfied because they get the illusion of free content. One of the greatest illusions of all time. That’s the real genius here. The techies convinced everyone this was a Robin Hood act by a bunch of adorable geeks when in truth, it was a Houdini by bona fide whiz kids.” (p.117)
There were times when I felt like this character spoke for me:
“What happened to music isn’t the result of society’s rules being broken. Rather it’s an exact reflection of those very rules. God is dead. The grown-ups are selfish and corrupt. The law is the strong man’s iron fist. And justice is the impotent cry of the dispossessed.” (p.117) and later:
“It couldn’t be illegal to just help people for free, could it? Maybe the system can’t stop what it can’t conceive: a pure act of giving. Or maybe that is exactly what it has the most interest in eliminating. In an age ruled by ego, generosity may be the only revolutionary act left. Why do I get the feeling that the best intentions I can muster will end up shrouded in a new mess?” (p.215)
I cannot think of a more eloquent note on which to end this story about this man’s struggle to find himself in an alien world. I cannot recommend The Sabbatical highly enough. Read it, learn from it, act on it.
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