Loved it! 😍

Well-crafted and thoroughly authentic-feeling account of a mid-life break-up.

The title reveals the original and succinct device used to portray this story of a Danish musician's break-up with his wife - sixteen chapters, sixteen hangovers, sixteen moments in time that paint the picture of this middle-aged rocker's slow journey towards acceptance of his situation.

And it's a smart device. We don't get to see the ragers that cause these hangovers (except in a few cases where one leads straight into the next), because we're not seeing the marriage that led to this break-up. This books isn't about the fun part, it's about the mess left afterwards. It's an elegant expression of another layer to this simple device, a mirroring of what we, the reader, are here to observe.

It means it's not an altogether pretty picture. I'll admit to not taking to Marc, our protagonist. His life as a rock star, albeit one whose crowning achievement was some twenty-odd years ago and who, though still respected as a guitarist, is living out a second-stage career as instrumentalist-for-hire, isn't one I can identify with. There's a popularity and a respect and an attraction he still commands that makes it difficult, at times, to sympathise with his self-pitying self-destruction. The truth is, though, we often despise in others the characteristics we most despise in ourselves and what matters more than sympathy is empathy; ultimately our interest in Marc's story is not so much in rooting for him as it is simply believing it. He's not totally likeable, mainly because the way he's drawn as a character is so convincing, and we're meeting him at his worst.

This is the key to Winther-John's success - his writing is exquisite. Perfectly crafted, the story always served by the prose. The writing draws you in, gets you past any reservations you may have about the story or characters, until you find, almost without realising, that you are invested in Marc's story, and Marc's recovery. I may know nothing about being a rock star, or the Danish rock scene, but something about this book rings true. We taste the hangovers, we feel the arousal Marc feels during certain, more lurid episodes in the book (never gratuitous, never glamorised), we smell the hotel rooms in those mornings after; the result of which is that we believe the story, and when a writer can make you do that, his job is done.

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I'm a writer based in Norfolk, UK - Playtime's Over (Propolis) and Greyskin (Deixis Press). I also self-publish sci-if as Ray Adams. I'm looking to expand my skills as a writer and use my love of literature as a basis for becoming a reviewer.

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About the author

Marcus Winther-John, Copenhagen. English born singer in Inside the Whale, a band that defined 90´s Danish rockscene. Later Marcus wrote songs for platinum artists from Sweden to Korea. He toured as Musical Director for the Danish rock icon, Peter Belli, for 8 years. 16 HANGOVERS is his debut novel. view profile

Published on May 23, 2023

Published by

60000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Romance

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