The Music of Women

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 11/03/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

When I finished reading The Music of Women which author Vincent Panettiere subtitles, “A Stream of Subconsciousness,” I felt as I did after my first rollercoaster ride—“What the hell was that?” Well, first things first—the plot. Charlie Forte is a successful novelist who grows up in NYC and who, in a radio advertising career that made him rich, meanders across the country, finally follows his true aspiration to write, and ends up in a beautiful home overlooking the Pacific Ocean near LA. He’s in a loveless marriage, both partners mostly ignoring each other. At the desk in his writing cabin, he contemplates suicide and reviews his life. The suicide is supposed to happen later that day. Whether it does or not is unclear to this reader. What is clear is that the text took me on a mind-blowing trip through Charlie’s existence, phantasmagorical, as it relates to his lifelong love-hate history with women. And with life.

At first, the reminiscence is chronological, beginning with his mother’s breasts and onward toward sexual maturity, or in Charlie’s case, possibly immaturity. Charlie (via Mr. Panettiere) is a brilliant writer and eventually, without really noticing it, I found myself swirling in Charlie’s dreamlike imagery as he converses with his ultimate woman, Divine Light. I honestly could not understand all of it—the novel is about much more than male eros: a search for self, for love, a dedication to the honesty of verbal expression, the state of the world, the decline of culture, the beauty of language, and the morass of the human condition. Not to mention the interwoven music—Gerry Mulligan’s baritone sax rendition of “My Funny Valentine.” And the women. Like the stream of Leopold Bloom’s consciousness in Joyce’s Ulysses, it is the beauty and power of the exuberant prose that swept me through the sudden turns and ups-and-downs even though literal understanding sometimes eluded me. Nevertheless, what a helluva a ride! I think I even understand myself more deeply as a man.

K.C. Finn

The Music of Women is a work of fiction in the romantic, abstract, and emotional drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Vincent Panettiere. Written for adult reading audiences, the work contains explicit sexual situations throughout as its primary subject matter whilst also using explicit language in the narration. As the title suggests, music and women play a huge central role in the life of our protagonist Charlie Forte, whose suicidal thoughts are interrupted by considerations of the twenty-four women who have all shaped his life for different reasons. So begins a stream of consciousness into deep psychology, relating back to the siren call of women, and one man’s view of their many temptations.

Author Vincent Panettiere has crafted a journey of psychological eroticism that will not be every reader’s cup of tea, but it certainly packs a punch for its artistic form, conceptual creation, and masterful abstract narrative. One of the things which I really admired about the work was its emotional quality, which centers around Charlie’s evolving feelings and the experiences which he has been shaped by over time. I thought the attachment to Sierra was beautifully tragic in particular, but each segment of the tale has something special, and the characters are drawn with evocative language and vivid descriptions. The musical additions add a unique dimension to the story with their cinematic soundtrack layered onto our imaginations. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Music of Women to readers seeking literary quality work that explores the more intimate themes of life in an artistic and expressive way.

Romuald Dzemo

The Music of Women: An Erotic Stream of Unconsciousness by Vincent Panettiere is an unusual story that features a protagonist with a unique way of appreciating the women in his life — by an association with music. Charlie Forte is the protagonist and when the story starts, he has just secured a record-setting advance for his most recent novel, but that doesn’t make him feel fulfilled. While he is married to Jessica, he has had extensive experience of sex and has developed a unique way of connecting with women, from Sierra, “The Golden Girl,” who thinks there is nothing delicate about Charlie, seeing him as the bull and the whole world as a china shop, to Magdalena who gives him an unforgettable experience, and others. But what does music have to do with these women in Charlie’s life?

The Music of Women is gripping from every angle and reminds readers of their own unique experiences with women. Vincent Panettiere creates a protagonist that is real and his experience with close family members — his mother, Rose; his sisters Maureen, Patti, and Clare; his aunts Justine, Lila, and Evelyn — and those women he has met and loved comes out brilliantly in the narrative. There are mature themes exploring sexuality, the drive for sex, marriage, and friendship. I loved the way the author writes about the protagonist and his sexual adventures with each of the women, and many male readers will resonate with this personality. The prose is strong, punctuated with interesting and gorgeous descriptions, exciting streams of consciousness, and well-crafted dialogues. This is a book with strong psychological underpinnings; the character development is impeccable and the writing is not lacking in humor and good imagery.