This coming weekend Gary and I talk to Silvia Moreno-Garcia about her debut fantasy novel, Signal to Noise. Described by Gary in an upcoming issue of Locus as “one of the most important fantasy debuts of the year”, it’s an engaging and compelling story of a woman returning to her family home in Mexico for her father’s funeral, and of a time in her teens when she discovered that the right music played just the right way could change the world. It may be that I grew up at the right time, it may be that Meche’s past overlapped mine in just the right way, but I loved this gentle, moving book quite a bit.
If you have any interest in fantasy and music, then I think Signal to Noise is for you. It’s the best genre book about music that I’ve read since Lewis Shiner’s Glimpses.
The publisher describes the book like this:
A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City.
Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends — Sebastian and Daniela — and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love…
Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?
Silvia was a terrific guest and I think the conversation we recorded talks about the book in an interesting way that really complements reading the book. Keep an eye out for the episode, which should go out on Saturday, 21 March. And consider picking up a copy of Silvia’s book. It’s Coode Street Recommended.