So you wanna be a rock'n roll star? Read Dana Spiotta's latest novel, now available in paperback, to see how that notion wildly —and quietly —plays out in the lives of siblings Denise and Nik. This is a book about being obsessed with music, about memory and remembering, and one that captures the unusual empathy we reserve for our familes. —Recommended by Stacey
In the sibling relationship, "there are no first impressions, no seductions, no getting to know each other," says Denise Kranis. For Denise and her brother, Nik, now in their forties, no relationship is more significant. They grew up in Los Angeles in the late seventies and early eighties. Nik was always the artist, always wrote music, always had a band. Now he makes his art in private, obsessively documenting the work but never testing it in the world. Denise remains Nik's most passionate and acute audience; she is also the crucial support for Nik and for their aging mother, whose dementia seems to threaten her own memory. When Denise's daughter, Ada, decides to make a film about Nik, everyone’s vulnerabilities escalate.