Cover image for Waterloo sunset : stories
Waterloo sunset : stories
Davies, Ray, 1944-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, 2000.
Physical Description:
277 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Ray Davies first came to the attention of the listening public as the lead singer and songwriter for The Kinks, the band he formed in the 1960s. Since then, he has continued to compose and perform music, as well as to experiment with a variety of other mediums, including the written word. Now Davies offers a wildly evocative, series of short stories, each as lyrical and insightful as the songs that serve as their inspiration. Linked by the voice of Richard, who assists in the comeback of an aging rocker, and by a sinister character taken straight from a song, these stories resonate with deep chords of nostalgia, exuberance, and fantasy as they depict the struggle to retain one's identity amid the glamour and pretensions of the rock-and-roll scene. Davies has already established himself as one of music's most innovative songwriters. Here he offers his voice in a fresh incarnation that will stir the souls of fans both old and new.

Author Notes

Ray Davies launched his band, The Kinks, with his brother Dave in 1964. Together they produced thirty albums and a series of number one hit songs, including "You Really Got Me" and "Lola." In addition Davies has also worked in television, film, and theater. His one-man show, Storyteller, is slated for Broadway, and he is at work on a new album. He lives in London and New York City.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Davies rose to rock stardom as leader of the Kinks, and chronicled that rise in X-Ray, his autobiography. This sharp but uneven debut short story collection examines the underbelly of the business that made his fortune. In the opening tale, aging British rocker Les finds himself washed up in late '80s Los Angeles, hungry for a record deal and a trustworthy manager. He connects with shrewd, manipulative Richard Tennent, himself eager to make quick money after the '87 stock market crash. Despite his suspicions, Les sets to work on a demo tape that will wow the bigwigs at United Records. His efforts dredge up the host of memories that provide the plots for most of the tales to follow. (Davies divides the collection into "Waterloo Sunset"--the first 20 stories, all linked by Les's memories--and seven independent "Stories," some of which feature Les.) In one tale, Les watches a rabid rock fan unravel after his girlfriend abandons him. In the next, Les's girlfriend, Donna, begins a dangerous flirtation with a vagabond painter. "Return to Waterloo," the final narrative, ventures inside the mind of a serial rapist riding the London Underground. Classic Davies songs (among them "Celluloid Heroes," "This Is Where I Belong" and "Misfits") provide templates and titles for a number of stories; some incorporate lyrics. This conflation of rock music and literature has its pitfalls, and the stories that close by quoting entire Kinks songs seem both self-serving and unfinished. Though Davies's fiction can be both inventive and grittily realistic, it suffers from a tendency to preach against obvious targets (money-grubbing rock executives, bourgeois British snobs). The loose narrative structure can also confound readers. Tighter editing could have made this a rewarding look into the music business. As is, it's a book only die-hard Davies fans will love. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

These stories by the talented songwriter and lead singer for the Sixties band The Kinks show--John Lennon's In His Own Write notwithstanding--that great song-writing talent does not necessarily translate into the concomitant ability to write outstanding prose. What is one to make of this uneven, disjointed collection of short stories centered around a songwriter named Les Mulligan? Mulligan once wrote top-of-the-pop-chart songs and was lead singer for a band not unlike The Kinks. Now, he's in a deep personal and professional slump, shuttling between London, New York City, and Los Angeles, bemoaning the loss of his family and the celebrity he enjoyed in the Sixties and Seventies. He reminisces on the scamming, dishonest managers he's known and is bitter toward rapacious recording company executives who care little for the artists making them millions. Woven loosely throughout are actual song lyrics and the stories that inspired them. There's an unrepentant serial killer/businessman, an over-the-hill manager desperately seeking the next hot artist, and an assortment of seedy hustlers looking to broker the big deal that will change their sad lives. These back-stories add nothing to the songs and are simply not challenging enough for the discriminating reader. An optional purchase, but librarians who find that Davies's autobiography, X-Ray, is popular with patrons might consider acquiring this as a companion volume.--Jo Manning, Barry Univ., Miami Shores, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Waterloo Sunset
The Shirtp. 1
Misfitsp. 19
Fantasyp. 31
The Dealp. 49
Tea Time Will Never Be
The Samep. 55
Art Loverp. 57
A Little Bit Of Abusep. 67
Afternoon Teap. 75
Missing Personp. 79
Scatteredp. 85
The Forty-Eight-Bar Bridgep. 87
Dreamsp. 93
Still Searchingp. 101
Where Are They Now?p. 111
This Time Tomorrowp. 113
Comedy and Tragedyp. 115
My Diaryp. 117
This is Where I Belongp. 127
Homep. 129
Waterloo Sunsetp. 135
No More Looking Backp. 145
Holiday Romancep. 149
Mr. Pleasantp. 159
Voices in the Darkp. 175
The Million Pound Semi-Det Achedp. 183
Celluloid Heroesp. 193
Return To Waterloop. 235