A Novel

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
A novel inspired by the early years of the Rolling Stones, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and Manson family associate Bobby Beausoliel exposes the dark side of the nineteen sixties.

Blackwell North Amer
In the last days of the 1960s, the worlds of the Rolling Stones and Charles Manson accidentally converged at the razor's edge of an era.
Sway is the story of those two forces and how they became entwined. It is the story of the Rolling Stones - from their days beating out their new sound and their new identities in freezing apartments and tiny clubs - focusing on Brian Jones, the first leader of the group, and on his growing confusion and jealousy as his band changed into something else.
It is also the story of a young man named Bobby Beausoleil, a handsome drifter under a dangerous influence. Beausoleil was befriended by the filmmaker Kenneth Anger and appeared along with Mick Jagger in Anger's film Invocation of My Demon Brother. When the film premiered, Beausoleil had been charged with a murder committed under the deranged leadership of Charles Manson, in whose commune he had found a temporary home.
Sway dares to imagine these lives, moving from the innocence and glamour of the young Rolling Stones to the awful events of 1969 - Brian's drowning in his mansion's swimming pool, the murder of a fan at the Stones concert at Altamont, and the Manson murders. Zachary Lazar weaves these scenes from real lives together into a true but heightened reality, making superstars human and demons palpable and restoring mythic events to the scale of daily life.

Hachette Book Group
Three dramatic and emblematic stories intertwine in Zachary Lazar's extraordinary new novel, SWAY--the early days of the Rolling Stones, including the romantic triangle of Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards; the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the community of Charles Manson and his followers. Lazar illuminates an hour in American history when rapture found its roots in idolatrous figures and led to unprovoked and inexplicable violence. Connecting all the stories in this novel is Bobby Beausoleil, a beautiful California boy who appeared in an Anger film and eventually joined the Manson "family." With great artistry, Lazar weaves scenes from these real lives together into a true but heightened reality, making superstars human, giving demons reality, and restoring mythic events to the scale of daily life.

& Taylor

A novel inspired by the histories of the Rolling Stones and the Manson family follows the experiences of a California youth whose life is influenced by a love triangle involving Keith Richards, the social movements of the 1960s, and Manson's community of followers. 25,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316113090
Characteristics: 255 p. ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 11, 2015

"It's just that demon life got you in its sway."
Contemporary writers seem to be really into writing fiction about real people ("The Hours" "Libra"). Zachary Lazar's second novel, named after a Rolling Stones song, will be familiar to those who have read Don DeLillo or E.L. Doctrow. Lazar brings together the Stones, gay underground film director Kenneth Anger ("Fireworks" "Lucifer Rising"), and an associate of Manson in a story about the dark energy and forces of the 60s. Again, this will be familiar to those who have read Joan Didion's or Hunter Thompson's dissection of the hippie dream and exploration of the 60s black heart. For fans of the Stones, it's entertaining (esp. the portrait of the drugged out, spectral Brian Jones), but Lazar doesn't do much new with the material or give it any real substance, despite his considerable gifts as a stylist. Makes a good double feature with "Gimme Shelter," which is a much more potent, horrifying expression of what he is trying to accomplish.

Nov 29, 2012

It is rare that I can be enticed into reading a work of fiction, but the promise of a story bringing together such real life persons as Bobby Beausoleil (with whom I have corresponded) and Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones (the subject of lifelong personal fascination) proved too great a temptation to resist. Poorly written and utterly pointless. The author has committed a profoundly ignoble blunder with this stinking pile of rubbish masquerading as a book. This is not a book for reading. It is a book for lying down and avoiding. Dreadful.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings

No similar edition of this title was found at SMCL.

Try searching for Sway to see if SMCL owns related versions of the work.

To Top