Greatest Hits PDF/EPUB ↠ Hardcover


  • Hardcover
  • 439 pages
  • Greatest Hits
  • Laura Barnett
  • English
  • 18 November 2016
  • 9781474600200

10 thoughts on “Greatest Hits

  1. Paromjit Paromjit says:

    I found this a brilliant and unusual read It is a fictional biography of the flawed life and times of the British singer and songwriter Cass Wheeler It rings so true and authentic that it is hard to credit that it is indeed fictional Cass had been a wildly successful musician until her sudden and abrupt departure from the music scene when tragedy struck and she suffered a breakdown This has not prevented a host of rumours and speculation as to what exactly happened to herNow in the present Cass is in the process of selecting sixteen songs from her huge back catalogue which serve to inform us of her life story through the songs and lyrics Each of the songs is the structure for this book Nostalgia and memories pour out from Cass going back and forth in time to illuminate her very full life and the artistic and compulsive drive within her that inspires the songs What emerges is a poignant journey into the past that provides an opportunity to understand her mistakes and come to terms with all that life has thrown at her and find some measure of peace She had an uneasy childhood unsettled teenage years marriage separation and became a mother with all the attendant demands that placed on her and having to come to terms with mental health issues The mismatch between being a mother and a hungry and devouring music industry is outlined There is real emotional power to Cass's story and you really feel it in the narrative The highs and lows of a life in music that captures an era in British cultural history It gives an unfiltered personal history with joy love failures regrets and all that it takes to live delivered beautifully through the frame of the music songs and lyrics which define Cass Wheeler Such a wonderful and unusual read which I highly recommend Thanks to Orion for an ARC


  2. Dale Harcombe Dale Harcombe says:

    Two and a half starsCass Wheeler is on a journey a journey back to her past After an absence of 16 years this singer songwriter chooses to pick 16 tracks from the very many she has written and recorded to define her life These are the key moments in a very deeply personal Greatest Hits album Over the course of these songs which are given throughout the book the reader gets to see the story of this woman’s life from her childhood to her success as an artist her love life and the losses she suffersI had heard a lot about this book and was fully expecting to love it since I love music and singing And I did like the early stories of Cass and her childhood before it takes the reader to her singing life and the ups and downs of her career and relationships What it does do is highlight particularly well the selfishness single mindedness and ambition I suspect is needed to make it to the top in the entertainment industry It clearly depicts the highs and the hardships of the music industry The story deals with drug taking of various kinds It also shows the problems that inevitably arise who egos clash I enjoyed the references to various recording artists and their songs many of whom I knew and some I didn’tBut in the end this wasn’t enough to maintain my interest and love this book Unfortunately I didn’t find Cass a very likable character The longer this book went on the less I was able to empathise and relate to Cass I found myself not wanting to pick the book up again and read further as evidenced by the number of days it took me to read this book In short interesting but not a gripping readMaybe it was me but I found the way it jumped around at times confusing Maybe just the wrong book at the wrong time? Or perhaps the wrong book for this person as I know others have loved it One of those books you may need to try and decide for yourself what you think


  3. Louise Wilson Louise Wilson says:

    This is a fictional biography of the British singer and songwriter Cass Wheeler Cass was a successful musician and then she had a breakdown Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past After a silence of ren years the singer songwriter is picking sixteen tracks that have defined her Sixteen key moments in her life for a uniuely personal Greatest Hits album In the course of one day the story of Cass's life emerges The highs and lows of music friendship ambition love and great lossWhat a uniue idea To write the story of your life through songs We all have a song that we remember good and bad times I loved this book A good read with some good music from the 1960's and 1970'sI would like to thank NetGalley Orion Publishing and the author Laura Barnett for my ARC in exchange for an honest review


  4. Jules Jules says:

    I really wanted to love this character driven novel From the title cover and blurb I expected to love this book but sadly it was not meant to be I think one reason may be that I recently read such a beautifully emotional book that I struggled to let go of and failed to fully throw myself into this story I also wasn’t really that keen on Cass so I’m sure that shaped my enjoyment of the book My favourite character was actually her dad so if anything I wanted to read about himThe way this book was written was an interesting one Cass is in the process of putting together a greatest hits album and she doesn’t want to choose the most obvious famous songs but the ones that mean the most to her Each chapter starts with a song title and lyrics which then leads on to her memories linked to that song Her memories cover subjects such as her childhood relationship with her parents her first love and beyond


  5. Marianne Marianne says:

    “Silence or something like it An arpeggio of birdsong The low rumble of a car The distant diminuendo of a plane Such are the sounds that have over so many years formed for Cass their own kind of music The only kind that sounded right inside her head; that didn’t thud and clash there ugly discordant deafening”Greatest Hits is the second novel by freelance arts journalist features writer theatre critic and author Laura Barnett It’s 2015 and singer songwriter Cass Wheeler is hesitant as she sits in the listening room of her home recording studio about to spend the day listening to the sixteen tracks that will make up her new album Greatest Hits “The songs that tracked the arc of a lifetime” She’s hesitant because the songs to which she will listen are all but a few chosen from her previous work They are guaranteed to stir up memories of the milestones in her life; some happy others less so and some decidedly traumatic and she wonders if she will be able to cope Despite assurances from those around her the prospect of re entering the music scene after a ten year hiatus also causes some anxiety How will her choices and her new works be received by those attending the launch party this evening? And underlying it all Cass wonders if her recent harsh words have put an end to a fledgling relationship she now very much wishes to develop The format Barnett has used is clever after the initial introduction in the present day each chapter is titled as an album track and begins with evocative song lyrics and their recording details before recounting the events of Cass’s life to which the song relates This is then followed by Cass’s present day thoughts and activities In the latter references are made to certain important incidents and these are gradually revealed In this way Cass’s early years her first interest in music her significant relationships her career her family her successes and her tragedies and her ten year silence are all described Cass Wheeler’s Discography at the end is a lovely final touch Barnett’s plot is wholly believable She easily captures her setting and readers of a certain vintage may experience some nostalgia Her characters are well formed and realistically flawed even those who deeply disappoint arouse some empathy Barnett also treats the reader to some beautiful descriptive prose “She closes her eyes; she can feel the answer lurking in a distant shadowed corner of her mind That’s how it is so often now the clear Technicolor of memory fading to sepia recollection a deliberate act An act of deliberation” and “’Francis is in pieces’ Cass pictures her father then as a china figurine lying smashed on the carpet in the front room” are examples “And then she had been left alone with that silence and she had understood for the first time that it wasn’t really silence but its own creeping layered symphony of sound”Readers who enjoyed “The Versions of Us” will not be disappointed in this latest offering from Laura Barnett A tender and thoughtful read


  6. Girl with her Head in a Book Girl with her Head in a Book says:

    For my full review Barnett's debut came via The Versions of Us telling the love story of Eva and Jim through three different possibilities  It is hardly surprising that her follow up is another high concept novel  Greatest Hits is set across the course of a single day with the fictional singer songwriters Cass Wheeler selecting the songs from her vast career which have been of the greatest significance within her life  Barnett describes the story as being based 'founded on her belief that there is no art form evocative than music'  Reading the book however it was only when I got to the end that I learned that Barnett had collaborated with Mercury nominated singer Kathryn Williams to set the lyrics which Barnett had written for Cass' songs to music creating the album Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits  I have a feeling that Barnett wanted me to have this playing while I was reading but alas I was unaware  This had the regrettable conseuence that when I finally did listen to the album it was not uite what I had been hearing in my head Williams' voice is beautiful but I had been imagining someone closer to Laura Marling or Beth Nielson ChapmanAs Cass gets up and potters about her day she thinks back over her life all the way back to her arrival in the world born to an indifferent and unhappy mother and absent minded vicar father  We are granted the perspective of an omniscient narrator seeing Cass even during the moments which she must surely not remember  In the present we can see that darkness swirls in Cass' past  She describes herself as 'ex musician Ex mother Ex daughter Ex wife' and lives as a recluse in a farmhouse in a remote village having long abandoned her career following a stint in rehab  How did she get there and now in her sixties can Cass find a way of moving forward?The heart of The Versions of Us was Eva; no matter which version she was in she was both the book's heroine and its most compelling character  Clearly Barnett felt the same as she pops up again in Version One form as a journalist and early admirer of Cass' work  The problem with Greatest Hits is that Cass Wheeler never uite measures up to Eva  She was uite an inert protagonist and although her struggles should have seemed interesting somehow I never uite warmed to her  Her mother's early abandonment of the family should have felt traumatic but yet it never really did  Her toxic marriage should have seemed dramatic but it felt cliched  I did not feel the connection that I had hoped for  Part of this may be due to how overcrowded the cast list was  I understand that friends and colleagues come and go within the life of a musician but it was really difficult to keep track of who was who  There were so many characters who were clearly intended to be of significance to Cass but tracing back the original connection got a bit muchThat being said Greatest Hits does raise a lot of interesting uestions  As with The Versions of Us there is the uestion of how far one can achieve professional success as a couple  Cass meets Ivor and immediately feels a strong sexual and musical chemistry  The two of them form a band and start performing but then it is Cass who is spotted by a record label  Ivor is both attracted to and jealous of Cass' success their relationship steadily curdling as he attempts to satisfy himself in a role as her backing musician  Over time he comes to eclipse her  The violence and betrayal that comes to characterise their marriage make for unpleasant reading  Based on her two novels so far Barnett seems to depict success within both the professional and personal sphere to be akin to managing a see saw a rather bleak conclusionAnother interesting uestion not one I felt the novel entirely answered was how one can keep hold of one's identity when it has passed into the public domain  Cass was born Maria Cassandra Wheeler but abandoned her first name when her mother left  She changed her look when she started performing  She was encouraged to change to suit shifting trends within music  Her words her lyrics her songs were all subject to public scrutiny  When it all went wrong she retreated from the world  Do we see her regaining control?  When the name 'Cass Wheeler' has a significance across the world how can Cass Wheeler herself decide who the real one is?  Any kind of public presence even one as limited as my own as an online blogger and book reviewer leaves one vulnerable to the opinions of others  People will read your words form their own judgments and decide for themselves who you are  In choosing her 'greatest hits' surely Cass is trying to reassert control over her own narrative to decide on her own version of her pastThe idea of choosing songs as marking posts for one's past may not be entirely original but it remains interesting  I liked Barnett's lyrics or at least as I had imagined them myself my personal favourite was 'Common Ground'  Interestingly though I tested out the official album on my musician partner and he felt that the lyrics were unnecessarily descriptive and overly detailed  When I explained that they had been written by a novelist this apparently explained a lot  I have had a lifelong habit of misremembering the words to songs and then clinging stubbornly to my personal interpretation does it matter what the artist meant originally or what I the listener choose to take from it?  I have always believed that no two readers ever read the same book do any two people ever hear the same song?  Does Cass have the final word on what each song represents?With a uotation from Mrs Dalloway at its opening and a circadian structure Barnett appears to be attempting to echo Woolf  As someone who has never connected with Virginia Woolf no matter how much I tried I wonder if this is another reason why Greatest Hits was for me a disappointment  Cass wanders through her day and everyone tiptoes around her  She is a strange creature set apart from those around her and this sense of disconnect extends to the reader  What makes it frustrating is that there are still snapshots of Barnett at her best of love lost and deep friendship but these are passing moments compared to the warmth of The Versions of Us  Artistically Greatest Hits is impressive but emotionally there is a void that I was not uite able to overcome


  7. Lee Lee says:

    Mmm Not for the first time I’m torn about how to review a book This one was beautifully written Barnett’s style is gorgeous and she’s obviously really talented when it comes to descriptive prose However when it comes to the plot I know this sounds harsh but I just didn’t get the point of the plot a fictional singer coping with fictional situations and life crises Why? There’s a plethora of books written by or about real life singers coping with their real life situations and crises Why not read them?To pull off a plot like this I think there needed to be than what Barnett gave us Cass our singing heroine has the typical personal relationships a horrible mother an ill father an alcohol and drug dependent husband We get to read about her tours and stage appearances where she suffers from nerves and how she writes deeply personal songs from her heart There's also the obligatory mental breakdownThis might all work on the screen when you have the likes of Bette Midler belting out a song about a rose but in this case I felt there was nothing new or exciting about the plot I didn't cry I didn't cheer on any of the characters I didn't desperately want anyone to hook up romantically I pretty much skimmed through the last 30% of the book Along with Cass’s family members there’s a lot of supporting characters who flit in and out of the book I mean a lot And I have to admit I didn’t even try to remember who was who and what part they played in Cass’s life after a whileThe lyrics of Cass’s songs feature at the beginning of each chapter I remember a writing friend telling me once that songs never work in novels I think she was rightIn a move to make the book stand out Barnett and her publishers I assume enlisted the help of Kathryn Williams to produce a ‘Greatest Hits Soundtrack’ bringing to life the songs featured throughout the book I did find this 'soundtrack' and listened but it still didn’t increase my enjoyment of the book In fact I think the opposite happened Part of the pleasure of a book is using your imagination and Barnett and Williams even stole that away The fictional songs become real songs sung by a real person who didn't sound like I wanted the fictional person to sound like I just This felt like some sort of trendy meta thing that on the whole annoyed meBarnett obviously based Cass on a mixture of singers likes Kate Bush Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell I would recommend finding one of their biographies andor their published song lyrics2 12 out of 5


  8. Wendy Wendy says:

    It's confirmed Laura Barnett is a storytelling virtuoso and I feel blessed to have Greatest Hits sitting on my bookshelf This glorious melody of words and lyrics will take you by the heart and walk you through a sublime pilgrimage to heal a soul The guests will be arriving soon a network of cogs in the Cass Wheeler machine Before she opens the doors of her home to them it is her task to make a selection of her Greatest Hits an ensemble of the vivid memories fashioned by the years Their individual association to Cass is explored with an introduction of a song its poignant verse and chorus presented in a familiar format for you to absorbAs Cass is a natural conductor of emotions channelling her experiences into music it’s wonderful not only to see the origins of her music but how it evolved Including the year of release and crediting the supporting artists gave a genuine sense of who had walked into onto the stage at a given time and where they fit into the story Those she remembers with fondness like her friend and assistant Kim who can pluck a solution out of thin air Then there are those who manufactured the problems perhaps not always with intent but stillDuring the course of an early morning until the evening falls the bright spark of talent in a young naive songwriter builds to a crescendo of the icon who stepped back from the bright lights A veteran of life whose playlist of her past is taking shape a musician’s spirit a daughter’s memories a mother’s anguish It’s an intensely personal and therapeutic process inviting heart breaking reservations to surface after they’d been long buried And as Cass Wheeler sayslike meeting myself again Or the person I used to be anyway Greatest Hits is a memoir where the writer allows us to read between the lines It’s all purely fictional of course and yet these people are anything but two dimensional characters on a page They are expressive and uniue afflicted by passion envy and sorrow It’s truly truly wonderful in every way imaginable and I can't recommend it highly enough This book is a keeper for sure I must say a massive thank you to the author Rebecca Gray and the publisher for kindly providing an advanced copy of this book It gives me great pleasure to provide this unbiased review


  9. David David says:

    25 starsI expected to enjoy this book about the life and songs of a fictional singer songwriter but although it began well ultimately i started to switch off and in the last 30 pages I actually found myself skipping paragraphs to get to the endAll the creativity Laura Barnett is building up a track record here appears to have gone into the structure and presentation of the book i really liked the use of song lyrics to frame each chapter and the authenticity brought by adding studio recording dates album titles etc I understand there is an accompanying CD to which i say bravoBut the story itself was rather predictable Cass Wheeler's reflections on her life not especially insightful and her own character rather uninteresting The longer the book went on the I began to find her passivity both irritating and selfish I enjoyed The Versions of Us and i felt there was a good book trying to get out here But for me this wasn't it and i've rounded my star rating down due to a particularly weak final section


  10. Thebooktrail Thebooktrail says:

    Read this with a cuppa and put the record of the book soundtrack on Travel to the locations in the novel Booktrail it to a musical place What a lovely and uniue idea for a novel the story of your life told through song A book of memories which conjures up the great singer song writers of their day and the songs you yourself have written The Greatest Hits is a clever title as well as a clever idea we all have soundtracks to our lives don't we? Songs we remember as a child where we were what we were doing the smells of that hot day on the beach whilst something was playing on the radio?Music is so powerful and so evocative it's very clever to write the story of your life through songs and the author is working with a real life musician to record them as they appear in the book lyrics too Of course Cassie in the book is fictional but by the end I was starting to believe she was as famous as Janis Joplin and somehow I'd missed her music A homage to British music and the British music scene of the 1960s and 1970s


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Greatest Hits[PDF / Epub] ☄ Greatest Hits By Laura Barnett – Thomashillier.co.uk The new novel from the author of the number one bestseller The Versions of UsOne day Sixteen songs The soundtrack of a lifetime Alone in her studio Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past The new novel from the author of the number one bestseller The Versions of UsOne day Sixteen songs The soundtrack of a lifetime Alone in her studio Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past After a silence of ten years the singer songwriter is picking the sixteen tracks that have defined her sixteen key moments in her life for a uniuely personal Greatest Hits albumIn the course of this one day both ordinary and extraordinary the story of Cass's life emerges a story of highs and lows of music friendship and ambition of great love and great loss But what prompted her to retreat all those years ago and is there a way for her to make peace with her pastDaughter Mother Singer Lover What are the memories that mean the most.


About the Author: Laura Barnett

Laura Barnett is a writer journalist and theatre critic She has been on staff at the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph and is now a freelance arts journalist and features writer working for the Guardian the Observer and Time Out as well as several other national newspapers and magazinesLaura was born in in south London where she now lives with her husband She studied Spanish and Itali.