Jukebooks: The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

Carnival at BrayIt’s 1993. Maggie is being uprooted from everything that she knows and loves: Chicago, comfort television, and the enthralling attention of her Uncle Kevin. Now she is an ocean away, trudging through the rain at a carnival in a small town by the Irish Sea. Why? Because Maggie’s mom has met another man, and this time she married him. Despite her loneliness, Maggie comes to love the people of Bray, particularly a handsome lad named Eion.

Even as life is growing richer for Maggie, Uncle Kevin is hitting a downward spiral. It is because of Keven that Maggie and Eion take off to Rome, to see Nirvana play in concert. Maggie screamed until all that came out was, “a joyous gurgling sound.” Despite the huge trouble resulting from their impromptu trip, Maggie and Eion plan to see Nirvana when they come to Dublin. Kurt Cobain killed himself before this concert could take place.

Like Janis Joplin in last week’s Jukebooks, Kurt Cobain is a member of the “27 Club.” This is an admittedly morbid allusion to a group of musicians who died at the age of 27. The idea came about when five musicians (Brian Jones, Alan Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison) all died within a two year span, all at the age of 27. Cobain, and later, Amy Winehouse, are also included in this very undesirable club.

Here is Nirvana, singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in Rome, 1994.

-Diane Colson, currently reading Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block