IF MY BOOK: Lavinia Ludlow


Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things. This week Lavinia Ludlow writes about Single Stroke Seven, her second novel, just published by Casperian Books.



If Single Stroke Seven were a micro-generation, it would be Generation U (unemployed), a cohort lost in the limbo of Generation Y.

If Single Stroke Seven were a weather pattern, it would be a downpour of acid rain that strikes when you’re standing at the base of a mountain in shoes blistering your feet to a pulp, and you have thirty minutes to haul fifty pounds of drum equipment up the hill before you miss your concert completely.

If Single Stroke Seven were a piece of furniture, it would be a table made of an old door abandoned on the side of the CalTrain tracks. Constructed with four legs of varying lengths, attention spans, and ambition levels, the table would only be good for kindling in a barrel fire.

If Single Stroke Seven were a cocktail, it would be a Bloody Mary made of one part Worcestershire sauce, the other part gas station vodka, and ketchup and hot sauce packets swiped from fast food joints. Chill with ice crystals chiseled off freezer walls, garnish with a dry cutting from the weed jungle in your backyard, and serve in a red plastic party cup.

If Single Stroke Seven were a crime, it would be stealing bowling shoes from the local alley, not because you can’t afford real shoes, but because you’re trying to make a punk rock fashion statement even though you’re well into adulthood and really just a hipster.

If Single Stroke Seven were a beer, it would be Märzen bottled in Gordon Biersch’s dilapidated bottling plant located a few miles over from San Jose, California’s Silicon Valley tech hub and financial district.

If Single Stroke Seven were a living arrangement, it would be one of these Bay Area rentals in this Buzzfeed article, What $2,000 Rent Gets You in San Francisco.

If Single Stroke Seven were an airline class, it would be a compartment below the cargo with questionable oxygen levels, freezing temperatures, and unregulated air pressure. No time to fret over lack of concessions, price of booze and WiFi, or crappy movie offerings since you’re too busy worrying how you’ll pay to treat the injuries incurred over the course of your journey. If you’re fortunate to have health insurance with or without a skyrocketing premium, you still have co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses that will leave you in debt or negotiating, “do I really need this bone set or this finger and/or limb reattached?”

If Single Stroke Seven were an animal, it would be an inner city alley mongrel missing patches of fur and a row of teeth. It would dumpster dive for day-old bagels and drink puddles of garbage water mixed with rancid malt liquor.

If Single Stroke Seven were a job, it would be janitorial work mopping up proverbial vomit and crap excreted from childhood relationships riddled with codependency, passive-aggression, and egocentrism.

If Single Stroke Seven were a drum rudiment, it would be a single stroke seven. Just as the final note binds together the preceding six, the protagonist, Lilith, holds together two separate bands with three members each. She is not only their timekeeper but the backbone trying to keep everyone upright and forging ahead.


Lavinia Ludlow is a San Francisco-based musician and writer. Her second novel, Single Stroke Seven, sheds light on the independent artists of a shipwrecked generation coming of age in perilous economic conditions. Her debut novel, alt.punk, explores the ragged edge of art, society, and sanity, viciously skewering the politics of rebellion. Both titles can be purchased through Casperian Books. Find out more at ludlowlavinia.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter at @lavinialudlow.


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