‘He tapped at his iPod, feeling within a note or two whether each random offering could provide what he was craving … skip, skip, skip, his temper rising, and then he felt it, just the opening chords … He stopped punching his iPod’s face, and he leaned back on the bench and wondered, marvelled, felt the world slowly reopening to him.’
Julian Donahue is obsessed with his iPod.
Each song — from Billie, Ella, Bowie, and Iggy, to the Clash, the Smiths, the Pogues, and the Sundays — on ‘this greatest of all human inventions’ triggers a memory. There are songs for the girls from when he was single, there’s the one for the day he met his wife-to-be, and another for the day his son was born. But when his family falls apart, even music loses its hold on him, and he has nothing.
Until one snowy night in Brooklyn, when his life’s soundtrack — and life itself — starts to play again. Julian stumbles into a bar and sees Cait O’Dwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer performing with her band, and a strange and unlikely love affair is ignited. Over the next few months, their passion for music and each other is played out, though they never meet. In cryptic e-mails, text messages, mobile phone videos, and lyrics posted on Cait’s website, they find something in their bizarre friendship that they cannot find anywhere else. Cait’s star is on the rise, and Julian gently guides her along her path to fame — but always from a distance — and she responds to the one voice who understands her, more than a fan, but still less than a lover.
As their feelings grow more feverish, keeping a safe distance becomes impossible. What follows is a heartrending dark comedy about obsession and loss.
The Song Is You is a closely observed tale of love in the digital age that blurs the line between the longing for intimacy and the longing for oblivion.