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The perfume burned his eyes

Book Cover
Average Rating
Akashic Books,
Pub. Date:

"An edgy coming-of-age romp set in New York City." -- Parade

"Screenwriter and Emmy-winning actor 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...Matt is not an atypical teenager--think Holden Caulfield without the cynicism--but, 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...Imperioli can definitely write, and he gets high marks for theverisimilitude and empathy that he evokes in this fine crossover novel." -- Booklist, Starred Review

"Imperioli's book follows a Queens teen named Matthew as his shattered family moves from Jackson Heights to Manhattan, where he finds an unlikely mentor in a drug-addled Lou Reed." -- New York Post

"A coming-of-age tale dashed with relatable angst and humor." --

"A restless Queens teenager becomes the protégé of music legend Lou Reed in Imperioli's energetic debut novel...Matthew's first-person narrative is full of endearing vulnerability, immediacy, and authenticity. This is a sweet and nostalgic coming-of-age novel." -- Publishers Weekly

"Imperioli's lived-in details about the city help make the world feel realistic...[The novel] 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." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Imperioli delivers a spot-on coming-of-age novel...A winner." -- Library Journal

"Even though [Lou] Reed looms large throughout--the novel even takes its title from Reed's 'Romeo Had Juliette,' from his 1989 solo album New York --the book is much less about him and more about Matthew's own journey through adolescence in the seedier corners of 1970s New York." -- Stereogum

"Compelling...Lou Reed appears as a major character; he's an unlikely father figure to the teenage protagonist, Matthew, who's trying to find himself in 1976 Manhattan. The iconoclastic--and at the time, troubled--rocker inspires Matthew artistically, even as he coaxes him to walk on the wild side." -- Maclean's

"[Imperioli's] debut novel, The Perfume Burned His Eyes , not only deserves an award for best title, but has garnered praise from Joyce Carol Oates...This should come as no surprise...Bravo!" -- Santa Barbara Magazine

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 away from his boyhood home, "the city" is a completely new and strange world to Matthew.

Matthew soon befriends (and becomes a quasi-assistant to) Lou Reed, who lives with his transgender girlfriend Rachel in the same building. The drug-addled, artistic/shamanic musician eventually becomes an unorthodox father figure to Matthew, who finds himself head over heels for the mysterious Veronica, a wise-beyond-her-years girl he meets at his new school.

Written from the point of view of Matthew at age eighteen, two years after the story begins, the novel concludes with an epilogue in the year 2013, three days after Lou Reed's death, with Matthew in his fifties.

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work IDc1b94178-af1c-7650-bc1f-7dcadc6bf777
Grouping Titleperfume burned his eyes
Grouping Authorimperioli michael
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-11-30 04:11:24AM
Last Indexed2020-04-08 04:20:09AM

Solr Details

authorImperioli, Michael, 1966-
author_displayImperioli, Michael
available_at_aacplBroadneck Library
Deale Library
Maryland City at Russett Library
Odenton Library
detailed_location_aacplBroadneck Library - Adult Fiction
Deale Library - Adult Fiction
Maryland City at Russett Library - Adult Fiction
Odenton Library - Adult Fiction
display_descriptionAfter the loss of both his father and grandfather, sixteen-year-old Matthew moves from Queens to Manhattan with his mother. There he learns to navigate a new school, a new neighborhood and a neighbor upstairs, Lou Reed.
Bib IdItem IdShelf LocCall NumFormatFormat CategoryNum CopiesIs Order ItemIs eContenteContent SourceeContent FileeContent URLsubformatDetailed StatusLast CheckinLocationSub-location
ils:a143200431997100792548Deale Library - Adult FictionFICTION (I)1falsefalseOn ShelfNov 23, 2018SCO
ils:a143200431997100792555Broadneck Library - Adult FictionFICTION (I)1falsefalseOn ShelfJan 21, 2019BDN
ils:a143200431997100792563Maryland City at Russett Library - Adult FictionFICTION (I)1falsefalseOn ShelfOct 04, 2018MDC
ils:a143200431997100792589Odenton Library - Adult FictionFICTION (I)1falsefalseOn ShelfOct 01, 2018WCO
itype_aacplAdult General Fiction
local_callnumber_aacplFICTION (I)
owning_library_aacplAnne Arundel County Public Library
owning_location_aacplBroadneck Library
Deale Library
Maryland City at Russett Library
Odenton Library
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:a1432004BookBooksEnglishAkashic Books, 2018.253 pages ; 19 cm
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:a143200431997100792548On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue
ils:a143200431997100792555On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue
ils:a143200431997100792563On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue
ils:a143200431997100792589On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue
First loves -- Fiction
Life change events -- Fiction
Moving, Household -- Fiction
New York (N.Y.) -- Fiction
Nineteen seventies -- Fiction
Reed, Lou -- Fiction
Role models -- Death -- Fiction
Teenage boys -- Fiction
title_displayThe perfume burned his eyes
title_fullThe perfume burned his eyes / a novel by Michael Imperioli
title_shortThe perfume burned his eyes
First loves
Life change events
Moving, Household
Nineteen seventies
Reed, Lou
Role models
Teenage boys