Searching For Steely Dan
Searching for Steely Dan, a mainstream contemporary novel by Rick Goeld, is the story of Eddie Zittner, a 29-year-old New Yorker who is obsessed with the rock group Steely Dan. His life is going nowhere. He's an aspiring writer who has stopped writing. He's bouncing from one dead-end job to another. His marriage is on the rocks. His wife, fed up with his obsession and lack of ambition, throws him out of their apartment. As Zittner's life crumbles, he takes to the sidewalks of Manhattan, looking for answers, looking for inspiration, looking for The Dan ...
Searching for Steely Dan is a compelling "coming of age" novel that incorporates many aspects of "mid-life crisis" stories.
Steely Dan fans: This book contains many "obscure" references to The Dan and their music. See how many references you can find! Check out the Searching for Steely Dan Quiz
For everyone else: Give this book a try! It's a funny, poignant story that plays out on the streets of Manhattan.
Here’s a review of Rick Goeld’s book, Searching for Steely Dan:
“Rick Goeld’s debut novel, “Searching for Steely Dan” is a refreshing coming-of-age tale. It’s a fiction novel that touches on despair, loneliness, confusion, motivation and inspiration; topics that we can all relate to as we grow in life.
While you might assume you need to be a Steely Dan fan to read the book, or at least, know who they are, this is not the case! The main character, Eddie Zittner, and his fascination with Steely Dan, is symbolic of any obsession or fantasy in life. It’s that youthful feeling of connectedness with celebritydom that our society is consumed with today. I know I’ve experienced in life – not with Steely Dan of course, but definitely other pop-culture icons of my time.
The setting is primarily in New York City, just before the tragedy of 2001. The portrayal is accurate; with a lot of focus on the hustle and bustle of the city, the immaculate food, the ability to be anonymous, and the grayness that lurks in the city in the spring, before the sun starts to shine again.
Eddie is very typical, believable 29-year-old male who encounters very familiar love interests: the bitter, never satisfied woman; the young, bubbly, in-your-face go-getter chick; and the slightly quirky, try-to-be tough but actually warm and compassionate heroine.
There is a sense of nostalgia in his writing where you get the feeling that certain plots relate to Goeld’s real life experiences or fantasies. He recalls situations with life-like detail and intense visual imagery. Seamlessly, he ties in short stories to the plot that he actually wrote about his own father, as if the main character Eddie Zittner was writing.
It portrays the age-old ‘what-to-do-with-my-life’ struggle excellently, as Eddie Zittner searches for some kind of practical motivation in life. To everyone around him, it seems as though he’s going nowhere fast and doing nothing about it. In Eddie’s mind, he’s still looking for something in life to really get excited about.
For those who know Steely Dan well, you will pick up on the Dan references that Goeld has manipulated into his writing. Goeld even prods at the fact that true “Dan” fans know to leave them alone.
While the plot does sound ridiculous in some ways, perhaps even immature, you simply need to read the novel to understand that pathetic it was not. Eddie was a dreamer, who had a longing for something more in his life, something that perhaps he didn’t think he was capable of, or didn’t think he deserved. But as soon as he started chasing his dreams in life, it led him directly to the people & the career he had always dreamt of living life with.
The book is an inspiration to all those searching to find themselves and shows how even the most misguided individuals can achieve their goals if you are willing to look within yourself and challenge everything you stand for.” - Alyson Campbell, Blogger.