Live from Medicine Park
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
224 Pages | 6 x 9
When Ray arrives at Lena’s hometown of Medicine Park, Oklahoma, a defunct resort community, he is determined to approach his topic with the professional detachment that has guided his career. His work ethic is modeled on the prime directive of Star Trek: never interfere with an alien civilization. But with only five days left before Lena’s comeback concert, Ray quickly runs afoul of his subject, who places him on a one-week probation. The terms: impress her or else.
It doesn’t take long before Ray violates his own ethical standards. Drawn romantically toward Lena, he also fails to prevent himself from interfering with the lives of the people closest to her, including her only son, Gram, whose paternity is a mystery even to himself; her daughter-in-law, Jettie; and the enigmatic guitar player Cyril Dodge. When disaster strikes Ray’s set again, this time in Medicine Park, he must face truths he has avoided for too long—about love, relationships, and responsibility.
An ode to both southwestern Oklahoma and rock music, Live from Medicine Park is a bittersweet reflection on the search for identity and purpose amid tragedy. As the novel reaches its climax, Ray sets out on one last adventure to set things right. Redemption may be possible—but only on its own terms.
“Few people write about the seductive energy of rock music and the bewitching power of place with the grace and acuity of Constance Squires. With a quirky Oklahoma spa town as backdrop, Live from Medicine Park is a rollicking tale of bad love, good music, and unwavering ambition gone wrong—all set to lyrics so evocative, they’re bound to haunt you long after you close the book.”—Rilla Askew, author of Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place and Harpsong
“Constance Squires creates a strong sense of place, and time, with characters who reflect the Native and ranching past of Oklahoma. Live from Medicine Park—about the art of music, film, and living—is nothing but great medicine.”—Thomas Fox Averill, author of rode and Ordinary Genius
“Constance Squires’s potent and lyrical anthem about love, music, and memory also has a lot to say about the complex transience of fame and fandom—and the price that musicians and listeners alike must pay for them. Live from Medicine Park is an aching, honest, unforgettable story of a fading legend, as well as a vivid portrait of one of the most mystical places in this country.”—Adam Davies, author of The Frog King
“Neither roots rock nor the American Southwest has enjoyed such savvy and inventive celebration as in this novel. While the material touches on those clichés of rock ’n’ roll, sex ’n’ drugs, et cetera, at every turn its narrative pushes past the cartoon to the bruise, past the headline to the whimper, and way past air guitar to the spellbinding noise of families in crisis and fallen people struggling to rise. Bristling with stubborn hopes and wild detours, Medicine Park restores us finally to the redemptive power of howling at the moon.”—John Domini, author of Movieola!
“Live from Medicine Park is an emotionally compelling rock-and-roll novel, full of supercharged prose, like Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia. I was captivated by documentary filmmaker Ray Wheeler and rock musician Lena Wells from the start. Using powerful language, Constance Squires immerses the reader in waves of desire, love, and urgency. She is a brilliant writer.”—Brandon Hobson, author of Desolation of Avenues Untold
“A rocky encounter with a rock icon changes a filmmaker’s life in [Constance] Squires’ heartfelt novel. . . . Squires gets it right on both sides, making Lena a convincingly grizzled rock [and] roll survivor while giving resonance to Ray’s journey to personal redemption. You don’t need to be a rock fan to appreciate this rite-of-passage story, but Squires’ fellow rockers will also appreciate her attention to details.”—Kirkus Reviews