When I first met Sam Allingham, he passed me a handwritten business card bearing his name, email, and Philadelphia address, presenting it (at least in my memory) with a mix of reluctance and adoration for the lady in his life who insisted he have them. Though his address has changed, I still have the card, and it marks page 9 of THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK, where “Stockholm Syndrome” begins—as I recall, it was the first story of Sam’s I ever read, and it knocked me off my feet as much back then as it did when I read it again in galley form.
Immediately, I was drawn into the mix of playfulness and pure heart in these stories. I like to imagine its many characters overlapping in incidental yet meaningful ways as they cross each other’s paths along Philadelphia streets. They are certainly linked already through music, love, and the love of music. From songwriters Rodgers & Hart and bandleader Artie Shaw to the individual lives affected by pop songs and ancient melodies, the stories in this collection sing, and I’m happy that today the world can read and listen and hum along.
More praise for Sam:
Sam Allingham is sharp and tender, and these stories swoop and soar with theatrical dexterity.”—Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers
Devastating, funny, insightful, and disarmingly intimate ”—Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door
The Great American Song Book has humanity—tender, hopeful, faltering humanity—singing and two-stepping beautifully across its pages.”—Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and A Guide to Being Born
Allingham writes in a lilting prose which makes even the more cheeky stories earnest. Alternately roguish and melancholy, always mellifluous.”—Kirkus Reviews
Celebrate THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK along with musical performances by Emily Bate, members of the Upholstery, and others at The Ruba Club in Philadelphia on Friday, November 18th, at 8pm, and hear him read in New York at Community Bookstore on January 19th.