DJ Taylor's essay on the elusiveness of the great rock & roll novel was mentioned on Bookslut and then became a suggestion free-for-all on largeheartedboy. So far, Harlan Ellison's Spider Kiss sounds the most promising. An excerpt from Taylor:
...this is an art-form whose outlines are subject to lightning shifts and fractures. If a music journalist has trouble keeping up with its constant recalibrations, what chance the middle-aged scrivener who thought Pink Floyd were frightfully good at Live8? And yet - again like football and comedy - in terms of themes, situations and the range of treatments available, pop ought to offer a deeply alluring landscape, both actual and symbolic, for the writer to colonise. Never mind the desperate romanticism that has invested the form since the days of Elvis; there is also pop's function as a piece of societal litmus paper. Until at least the early 1980s, it is fair to say, "music", together with professional sport and organised crime, offered the only reliable means of escape from the back street and the factory floor. Then there is the human factor, made up of the aspirations, resentments and interactions of the four or five persons crammed into the rehearsal studio together with El Sharko their rapacious manager, and the iceberg of a ruthless, predatory and potentially corrupt corporate organism lurking all the while beyond the horizon. In theory, rock'n'roll novels ought to strew the fictional forest floor like fallen leaves. In practice only the occasional muted light glimmers up through the murk.
Update: Michael Schaub provides a round-up in the September issue of Bookslut.