Sway Review
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Zachary Lazar takes readers through the dark side of the 1960s through three stories that loosely relate to each other in his novel, Sway. These stories feature the early Rolling Stones, along with girlfriends Anita Pallenberg and Marianne (I’m guessing the Marianne from “Faithful,” though Lazar doesn’t actually say), as well as Bobby Beausoleil of the Manson family and avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger.

Lazar explores deep into the pasts and personas of his characters Mick, Keith, and Brian, along with Beausoleil who had to hustle the streets of New York to survive. He delves into Mick and Kenneth’s fascination with the occult while probing the dark psyche of director Anger, which led him to make the films Lucifer Rising and Invocation of My Demon Brother. Some of the book’s other characters actually appeared as actors in his films.

Lazar goes back and forth between these men’s struggles with drugs, love, sex, and rage. Finally, he comes to a conclusion with Brian’s death and the tragedies that ended the 1960s: a fan killed by the Hells Angels at the 1969 Rolling Stones Altamont concert and Beausoleil committing the first of the Manson murders.

The evolution of the events and characters continued to clutch me as I speculated how it would all finally peak in what I expected would be a gripping, intertwining conclusion. Though entranced, I found myself constantly breaking away to research what part of this novel appeared to be fact, rumor, or purely fiction.

I quickly fell under Lazar’s spell. My anticipation of a sordid, though thrilling climax was overwhelming. After all, this is where he was leading us—and since it was fiction, Lazar could take the stories wherever he wanted. However, the ending just fizzled.

I wish that I could say that the exciting journey was enough for me recommend this novel. However, I can’t, as the destination was pure disappointment. So if you really want to read about the Stones and the Manson Family, I suggest that you get your fix elsewhere.

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