Constance Squires (Fiction) | Edmond, OK
Blurbs, Press & Reviews
I finished Live from Medicine Park on a train crossing Italy, and there was a moment—I swear to God—when I lifted my eyes from page to window and was surprised to rediscover a Mediterranean landscape. I’d fully expected the territory Constance Squires had called into being, Apache-haunted and far-horizoned. Is it 21st-Century Texas and Oklahoma? Or some mirage of the region that’s transcended our moment, carrying us away like the early Stones, back when they tore into “Route 66?” In any case, neither roots rock nor the American Southwest have enjoyed such savvy and inventive celebration as in this novel. Better yet, while the material touches on those cliches of rock’n’roll, sex’n’drugs, etcetera, at every turn its narrative pushes past the cartoon to the bruise, past the headline to the whimper, and way past air guitar to the spellbinding noise of families in crisis and fallen people struggling to rise. Bristling with stubborn hopes and wild detours, Medicine Park restores us finally to the redemptive power of howling at the moon.
—John Domini, author of Movieola! and The Sea-God’s Herb
A rocky encounter with a rock icon changes a filmmaker’s life in Squires’ (Along the Watchtower, 2011) heartfelt novel.
Ray Wheeler is down on his luck thanks to bad judgment on his last documentary: he kept filming while a man was shot and wounded; now Ray is saddled with both guilt and a lawsuit. Ray accepts a gig to document the comeback of Lena Wells, a 1970s country-rock superstar whose music he never cared for. A Western visionary and one-time glamour figure who seems a cross between Stevie Nicks and Lucinda Williams, Lena has a past shrouded in mystery. Her relationship with her guitarist, Cy, is intense but ambiguous, and her son, Gram, has never learned who his own father is. The more Ray investigates her life the messier things get, as he develops sexual chemistry both with Lena and with Gram’s wife, Jettie. As Lena’s comeback show in her Oklahoma hometown of Medicine Park draws closer, it gets more likely that either the event or Ray will fall apart. Rock aficionados will appreciate references to cult heroes Los Lobos and Gram Parsons, and the lyrics Squires provides for Lena’s songs are good enough to pass as genuine ’70s rock artifacts. Squires gets it right on both sides, making Lena a convincingly grizzled rock & roll survivor while giving resonance to Ray’s journey to personal redemption.
You don’t need to be a rock fan to appreciate this rite-of-passage story, but Squires’ fellow rockers will also appreciate her attention to details.
— Kirkus Reviews
“Squires creates a strong sense of place, and time, with characters who reflect the Native and ranching past of Oklahoma. Live from Medicine Park—about the art of music, film, and living—is nothing but great medicine.”
—Thomas Fox Averill, author of rode and Ordinary Genius
“Constance Squires’s potent and lyrical anthem about love, music, and memory also has a lot to say about the complex transience of fame and fandom—and the price that musicians and listeners alike must pay for them. Live from Medicine Park is an aching, honest, unforgettable story of a fading legend, as well as a vivid portrait of one of the most mystical places in this country.”
—Adam Davies, author of The Frog King
Live from Medicine Park is an emotionally compelling rock and roll novel, full of super-charged prose, like Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia. I was captivated by documentary filmmaker Ray Wheeler and rock musician Lena Wells from the start. Using powerful language, Constance Squires immerses the reader in waves of desire, love, and urgency. She is a brilliant and incredibly endearing writer.
—Brandon Hobson, author of Where the Dead Sit Talking
“Few people write about the seductive energy of rock music and the bewitching power of place with the grace and acuity of Constance Squires. With a quirky Oklahoma spa town as backdrop, Live from Medicine Park is a rollicking tale of bad love, good music, and unwavering ambition gone wrong—all set to lyrics so evocative, they’re bound to haunt you long after you close the book.”
—Rilla Askew, author of Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place and Harpsong