Review of Michelle Dove’s RADIO CACOPHONY

Michelle Dove. Big Lucks Books, $10 paperback (132p) ISBN: 9781941985069

In Dove’s excellent debut, the term “Radio Cacophony” refers to the sonic experiment of playing multiple tracks over each other. The objective is to glean something familiar or beautiful from the often jarring noise. There’s nothing displeasing to the ear or heart in this novel-in-vignettes about a communications major who works for the college’s radio station. Dove’s first person narrator possesses an amicable, easy to read voice and a laid back, frequently wise wit. She supersaturates herself with music from The Smiths, crushes hard on the Day Art deejay, drinks lots of vodka, and fumbles and bounces on an intricate web of youth as she finds her way. As a humorous recounting of boozy exploration set to an amazing soundtrack, the book is an easy success. But what really gives it great lift and cutting depth is the narrator’s ability to ruminate on her motivations and choices. Finding herself alone one day at the station, she purposely allows the airwaves to fall silent between tracks and the anxiety of this dead air rushes in: “It’s in this moment before I finally play the song that is cued up to play that I feel what it feels to be utterly pointless. Yet immediately after the moment of pointlessness comes exhilaration, as I know now that the most vulnerable I have ever been has passed—and still I am me.” Dove gives readers the familiar and beautiful while maintaining a perfect balance of humor and sadness. (September 2016)

Purchase Radio Cacophony HERE.

Reviewer bio: Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel Freight. Visit him at