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September 25, 2007

Book Notes - Dallas Hudgens ("Season of Gene")

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that is in some way relevant to their recently published books.

With Season of Gene, Dallas Hudgens has crafted a thriller that manages to be clever, witty, and incredibly well-written. A novel built around a famous Babe Ruth bat and the protagonist's softball team, Season of Gene is fast-paced and awash in baseball metaphors that both propel the plot and amuse...

In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews noted:

"Crime and baseball make for an irresistible combination in this raunchy, fast-moving caper, a second novel just as good as Hudgens's wild debut (Drive Like Hell, 2005)...A nourishing slice of Americana, expletives and all. "

In his own words, here is Dallas Hudgens' Book Notes essay for his novel, Season of Gene:

The narrator in Season of Gene is Joe Rice, a mid-thirties ex-con who owns a small car-detailing and ticket-brokerage business in the Washington D.C. area. Having bounced between his mentally ill mother and his reckless uncle as a child, Joe clings tightly to the stability of his business, apartment, and Friday-night baseball team. When his unstable business partner and teammate, Gene, dies suddenly, Joe tries desperately to clean up the financial and emotional mess that Gene has left behind. But as both his business and his baseball team unravel, things worsen when Joe's girlfriend, Theresa, decides to leave town with her 12-year-old son, Louis, who has formed a bond with Joe.

Joe's taste in music has mainly been formed by the people in his life, everything from old records that belonged to his mother's boyfriends to the songs played on the radio at the car wash. These are a few of the songs and musicians mentioned in the book.

Maracaibo Oriental -- Beny More`

Joe is a Beny More` fan. He first heard the late Cuban star when someone at work played his music. As a ticket broker, Joe says he would have laid down a stack of his own money for a chance to see Beny More` when he was still alive. More` had a great voice, and this song really moves.

Folsom Prison Blues -- Johnny Cash

When Joe's girlfriend asks him what kind of music he likes, Joe says, "Salsa, hip-hop, Johnny Cash." He picked up the Johnny Cash from an album that belonged to one of his mother's old boyfriends. Joe thinks of this song when he remembers his mother and uncle, whose lives have been lost in different ways. He regrets that he had the opportunity to ride in life's "fancy dining car" when they didn't.

Eye Know -- De La Soul

I'd been listening to 3 Feet High and Rising the day before I wrote the scene for Gene's funeral. Eye Know, with the Steely Dan sample, was in my head, and it seemed like something Joe and Ramon would be listening to while they read the newspaper and drank coffee in the car before the funeral.

Notorious Thugs -- The Notorious B.I.G.

Louis downloads this for Joe as his ring tone. I couldn't find this song as an actual ring tone, although I did find Hypnotize. I think the opening to Notorious Thugs would be a good ring tone.

Motivation -- T.I.

Louis is listening to T.I. in his bedroom while his mother and Joe argue. Anything don't kill me, makes me better.

Raspberry Beret -- Prince

When Joe begins a relationship with Gene's widow, Joy, they have a conversation about prayer after making love in Gene's bed. Prince was playing on the clock radio. This is the song.

All That I Got Is You -- Ghostface Killah

I like this song a lot, and there's a line in it (Things was deep, my whole youth was sharper than cleats) that I thought Joe would like. It plays in his car near the end of the book and makes him think of Theresa and Louis.

Dallas Hudgens and Season of Gene links:

the author's website
the author's site at the publisher
excerpt from the book at Google Book Search

the author's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for his debut novel, Drive Like Hell
the author's "If I Only Had an iPod" essay at the Happy Booker

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)

Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
directors and actors discuss their film's soundtracks
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2007 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)


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