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The Perfume Burned His Eyes
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Published:
Akashic Books 2018
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Description

An outer-borough boy moves to the foreign land of Manhattan and befriends Lou Reed, in a novel by the Emmy-winning actor and screenwriter: “A winner.”—Library Journal

Matthew is a sixteen-year-old living in Jackson Heights, Queens, in 1976. After he loses his two most important male role models, his father and grandfather, his mother uses her inheritance to uproot Matthew and herself to a posh apartment building in Manhattan. Although only three miles from his boyhood home, “the city” is a completely new and strange world. Soon, he befriends (and becomes a quasi-assistant to) Lou Reed, who lives with his transgender girlfriend in the same building. And the drug-addled, artistic/shamanic musician will eventually become an unorthodox father figure to Matthew, as he moves toward adulthood, adjusts to a new life, and falls head over heels for a girl wise beyond her years.

“Imperioli can definitely write, and he gets high marks for the verisimilitude and empathy that he evokes.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A coming-of-age tale dashed with relatable angst and humor.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Some fictional trips into 1970s New York abound with nostalgia; this novel memorably opts for grit and heartbreak.”—Kirkus Reviews
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/03/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781617756429
ASIN:
B076QDGW46
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Michael Imperioli. (2018). The Perfume Burned His Eyes. Akashic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Michael Imperioli. 2018. The Perfume Burned His Eyes. Akashic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Michael Imperioli, The Perfume Burned His Eyes. Akashic Books, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Michael Imperioli. The Perfume Burned His Eyes. Akashic Books, 2018.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:19:46
Date Updated:
Jul 06, 2023 23:20:33
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May 19, 2024 07:38:27
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      • bioText: Michael Imperioli is an author and actor, best known for his starring role as Christopher Moltisanti in the acclaimed TV series The Sopranos, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Emmy Award. He also wrote five episodes of the show and was co-screenwriter of the film Summer of Sam, directed by Spike Lee. He has appeared in six of Lees films and has also acted in films by Martin Scorsese, Abel Ferrara, Walter Hill, Peter Jackson, and the Hughes Brothers.
      • name: Michael Imperioli
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The Perfume Burned His Eyes
fullDescription

An outer-borough boy moves to the foreign land of Manhattan and befriends Lou Reed, in a novel by the Emmy-winning actor and screenwriter: “A winner.”—Library Journal

Matthew is a sixteen-year-old living in Jackson Heights, Queens, in 1976. After he loses his two most important male role models, his father and grandfather, his mother uses her inheritance to uproot Matthew and herself to a posh apartment building in Manhattan. Although only three miles from his boyhood home, “the city” is a completely new and strange world. Soon, he befriends (and becomes a quasi-assistant to) Lou Reed, who lives with his transgender girlfriend in the same building. And the drug-addled, artistic/shamanic musician will eventually become an unorthodox father figure to Matthew, as he moves toward adulthood, adjusts to a new life, and falls head over heels for a girl wise beyond her years.

“Imperioli can definitely write, and he gets high marks for the verisimilitude and empathy that he evokes.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A coming-of-age tale dashed with relatable angst and humor.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Some fictional trips into 1970s New York abound with nostalgia; this novel memorably opts for grit and heartbreak.”—Kirkus Reviews
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Brooklyn Fans
      • content:

        "Imperioli does a masterful job with this work, and with his influences from the acting world, it reads vividly, like a movie."

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2018
        The protagonist of this coming-of-age novel set in late-1970s New York City falls under the wing of an unlikely mentor: Lou Reed.The Sopranos actor Imperioli's first novel begins with a family sundered. Narrator Matthew details the death of his estranged father, his mother's growing dependence on pills, and an inheritance that prompts the two of them to leave the confines of their Queens neighborhood for an upscale apartment in Manhattan. Among their neighbors is Lou Reed, at a point in his life when he rapidly veered from grandiose to paranoid, from generous to menacing. As Matthew comes to terms with his feelings for his classmate Veronica, he becomes increasingly aware of perspectives other than his own, along with a growing restlessness. Early on, Matthew recalls a dinner with a boorish friend of his that quickly turns violent, as he lashes out after his friend makes a number of grotesque and sexist comments. At the beginning of the next chapter, he pauses and then recants his earlier words: "I'm a liar. A liar and a coward." Imperioli plays with this kind of narrative tension throughout. The arc of the novel--a young man forming a tense, unpredictable bond with a mercurial mentor--is familiar, but Imperioli's lived-in details about the city help make the world feel realistic. And while some of the novel's characters, Veronica in particular, call out for more time on the page, the end result is an immersive trip into its narrator's memories of a turbulent time.Some fictional trips into 1970s New York abound with nostalgia; this novel memorably opts for grit and heartbreak.

        COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 26, 2018
        A restless Queens teenager becomes the protégé of music legend Lou Reed in Imperioli’s energetic debut novel. When Matthew is in high school, his father abandons the family a few months before dying. Matthew’s grandfather also dies suddenly, and not long after; his mother scoops up her inheritance and moves them to a new apartment on East 52nd Street in Manhattan. Matthew gets a job as a delivery boy for a neighborhood diner, and a delivery to an apartment in his own building thrusts him into the vibrant and erratic artistic world of singer Lou Reed. It’s 1976, and 34-year-old Reed is a legend in the making. Imperioli’s depiction of Reed’s milieu may remind readers of Andy Warhol’s factory, with an ever-changing entourage and an impulsive, charismatic artist at its center. Lou takes Matthew to a bar for the first time, and renames him Tim (as a joke, after the falsetto singer Tiny Tim). This becomes his new identity, just as Lou becomes his surrogate father. Along the way, there’s first love, experimentation with drugs, and other standard elements of a bildungsroman. If Imperioli’s Lou Reed is a bit generic, he nevertheless comes across as a charismatic rocker. Matthew’s first-person narrative is full of endearing vulnerability, immediacy, and authenticity. This is a sweet and nostalgic coming-of-age novel. Agent: Dan Kirschen, ICM Partners.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2018

        Actor Imperioli (The Sopranos) delivers a spot-on coming-of-age novel. It's 1976, and 16-year-old Matthew is uprooted from the relative quiet of Jackson Heights, Queens, to midtown Manhattan after his mother scores a windfall. A keen observer and relatively reliable narrator, he experiences a busload of "firsts." Like a girlfriend: the brilliant and beautiful Veronica, who is also a witch (literally) who turns tricks. Their first sexual experience is one of the creepiest in modern fiction. And he is befriended by an ultra-odd father figure (wait for it, unless the title gave it away): Lou Reed. Lou is in that drugged-out period between the benign "Rock and Roll Heart" and the darkest-of-dark "Street Hassle." There are many strange set pieces, and here's one. Lou takes Matt to a dive for Matt's first gin and tonic and gives him quarters to play the jukebox. Trying hard to find something Lou might like, he chooses "Duke of Earl" but hits the wrong buttons and gets Tiny Tim, causing Lou to call him Tim for the rest of the way. It's not all fun: there's a suicide, a stay in a psych ward, and Lou disappears. But it's a trip. VERDICT A winner, though the strange cover art may discourage some readers.--Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from February 1, 2018
        Screenwriter and Emmy-winning actor (he played Christopher Moltisanti on The Sopranos) Imperioli's first novel is the atmospheric coming-of-age story of 17-year-old Matthew, whose mother moves them from Queens to a posh apartment in Manhattan in 1976. It's a new world for Matthew, who is enrolled in a tony private school where he meets and falls for the inscrutable Veronica, a loner who claims to be a witch. She is not the only one with whom he is smitten, however, for he soon meets the celebrated musician Lou Reed, who lives in his building along with his transgender girlfriend. Reed is welcoming in a distracted sort of way, and Matt is soon a fixture in his apartment, running errands and accompanying Reed on adventures. Meanwhile, he has learned that, to earn money, Veronica turns tricks, and, indeed, he will be awkwardly involved in one of her encounters. It is Reed, however, who commands center stage; drug-addled and solipsistic, he is a combination musical genius (though we never see him perform) and offbeat father figure to Matt, who, now 18, tells his first-person story in retrospect. Matt is a not an atypical teenagerthink Holden Caulfield without the cynicismbut, often afraid and awkward, he is a reactor, not an actor, until the end of the novel, which, without foreshadowing, comes as a harrowing surprise. Several plot points remain unresolved, but Imperioli can definitely write, and he gets high marks for the verisimilitude and empathy that he evokes in this fine crossover novel.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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An outer-borough boy moves to the foreign land of Manhattan and befriends Lou Reed, in a novel by the Emmy-winning actor and screenwriter: “A winner.”—Library Journal

Matthew is a sixteen-year-old living in Jackson Heights, Queens, in 1976. After he loses his two most important male role models, his father and grandfather, his mother uses her inheritance to uproot Matthew and herself to a posh apartment building in Manhattan. Although only three miles from his boyhood home, “the city” is a completely new and strange world. Soon, he befriends (and becomes a quasi-assistant to) Lou Reed, who lives with his transgender girlfriend in the same building. And the drug-addled, artistic/shamanic musician will eventually become an unorthodox father figure to Matthew, as he moves toward adulthood, adjusts to a new life, and falls head over heels for a girl wise beyond her years.

“Imperioli can definitely write, and he gets high...

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