Review: The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore!Q9vVOo7NS7vB3CidS!pxvgzMNfZ1nRiJTw0coSw6po!WgF19IVS2!XVFCWpRwJO0+h1iZSn5gWMZOxO7nbASp+W5SBQKW/u34+1F!EVWH7ngw7NLVXIcKIKW2pmYA+Gl!w8rbMsYH!BRIAG5OUet9tcq9F2XjffXkZsjELHH1dotzfe59Az1jyGM+mB65M9iSYJGxO3RSWsW1OYzkgsRAdZgmVYczuThe Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore (William Morrow, 256 pages)

Cudmore's debut novel is like the mix tapes that populate its pages- once you start it, you just want to blow through the entire thing without stopping.

Set in the Barter Street district of Brooklyn, The Big Rewind follows Jett Bennett- an aspiring music journalist who temps to make ends meet- as she tries to figure out who killed her friend and neighbor, KitKat. The key to solving the murder is a mix tape meant for KitKat that Jett accidentally receives in the mail.

Through Jett's story, Cudmore presents a vibrant panorama of present day Brooklyn, with its retro-and-vinyl-loving-and-sometimes-vegan hipsters, its bars, its shops, and its shady characters. We're transported back to the music of the '80s and '90s, to cassette tapes and the early days of CDs, to a time before facebook and instagram. Of course, the characters in The Big Rewind are pros at social media, but they always keep one foot in the past, a nostalgia that, Jett eventually realizes, poses its own unique dangers.

Ultimately, The Big Rewind asks us to take a critical look at our own most cherished memories and the nostalgia-boxes we keep and ask ourselves if we're holding on to too much for too long.

I love Cudmore's smart, energized prose and how it beautifully blends snark, wit, and empathy. You should also check out her story, “Rough Night in Little Toke” in the anthology Hanzai Japan. The only question, I guess, is when can we get her next novel?

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