Built on musical notation and modeled after hip-hop beats, an innovative first novel set on the New Jersey shore among neon-lit arcades, riot-haunted blocks, and dilapidated boatyards

Sound is the story of a young man who drops out of graduate school and returns to his hometown on the New Jersey shore, only to find that home is not what he remembers it to be. Brainy, music-obsessed, and adrift, Cincy spends his days managing the crew of a local boatyard, his nights roaming the shore’s bars and boardwalks. His fleeting encounters with a woman called Vera, whose path he crosses but whose love he can never seem to earn, soon develop into an obsession. As he pursues Vera through a tangle of wild parties and packed clubs, Cincy is trailed at every step by the police, who have their own mysterious plans for him and his coworkers at the yard.

Loud with the sounds of thumping cars, riot-haunted blocks, and amusement parks, this first novel from T. M. Wolf takes the reader into uncharted territory. Sound braves an entirely new way to tell a poignant story about being young and searching for love and for home.



"No one who is curious about the many ways in which stories may be told could fail to be interested in this book. Sound is bold and fresh and loud   - a jack kerouac of a novel for a new generation.” - Kirsty Gunn, author of Rain

"SOUND is an astonishing tumble of noise and voice, imbricated conversations and overheard lyrics. And yet running through its heart is a quiet and beautiful love story, speaking of all the things left unsaid. A brilliant, inventive debut." - Peter Hobbs, author of The Short Day Dying and I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train

"It’s as if T.M. Wolf has written a novel in stereo, while everything else is in mono." - Evie Wyld, author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice

"T. M. Wolf’s debut novel is a sonorous explosion of narrative, thought and dialogue that bounces off the page in a cacophony of loops, remixes and break-beats. Unlike anything I have ever read, SOUND is pitch-perfect, daring and wondrously atmospheric." - Lee Rourke, author of The Canal 

"[Wolf’s] dizzying interests somehow coalesce in this first novel, with the prose arranged here and there on horizontal lines, like musical notation.” - Stephen Heyman, The New York Times

"Sound is as ambitious as it is innovative in format, telling much of its story through the notation of a musical score, a storytelling style that serves this debut novel well." - Largehearted Boy



"[A] feast for the eyes that is oddly reminiscent at turns of the late-’60s Tom Wolfe but assuredly of the here and now…
It’s something David Foster Wallace might have tried, and in the experiment, Wolf acquits himself well." - Kirkus Reviews

"Wolf widens [the] modernist niche with gusto and the result is a novel that can truly be described as pitch perfect." - The Independent (UK)

Sound is a “significant American debut[]… What Wolf offers those [readers] adaptable enough to go with him is an often powerful mimicking of simultaneity — of having a main character who can speak, hear, remember and fear, all at the same time.” - The Guardian

"[T]here is no doubt that we are encountering a radical approach to a modern novel… [SOUND] engender[s] an experience that is exhilaratingly novel." - The Melbourne Review

Sound makes for a bracing read… For all that Wolf does to modify and play with the form in order to tell his story, he also has his storytelling basics down, making for a fine balance of innovation and tradition.” - Capital New York

"[P]opular music has some catching up to do with Wolf for his multifaceted ambivalence towards reckoning with one’s past. Nostalgia is a fetish; in Sound it’s a compulsion, a habit to be tamed.” - Full Stop

"T.M. Wolf… has created an exception among exceptions… The various plotlines, while self-sufficient, ultimately become part of the larger impressionistic wash set in motion by the textual form. It doesn’t matter so much what happens—what matters is how these events repeat, loop, scream, whisper, and overlap." - The Rumpus

"[I]nnovative and engaging… Wolf’s prose crackles with its own kind of improvised musical structure." - Minneapolis StarTribune

"An ambitious debut by a writer to watch, this work will appeal to those who read with their ears." - Library Journal

“If this were a hip hop album, to sample from another genre would almost be par for the course. Since this is a novel, however, to do so seems ambitious, and in the spirit of the best hip hop, audacious.” - Trop

[A]n aural and aesthetic experience, begging you to read the scenes out loud and revel in its beautiful, oftentimes chaotic, layout.” - The Cowl

"Wolf has written the book as it is meant to be… The writing is bold and in-your-face… breathtaking at times." - Bookrack (India)

A Daily Beast "Hot Read"

A Largehearted WORD Book of the Week

A Library Journal "Best Bet" First Novel for Spring/Summer 2012

A Stylist Magazine Hot New Book for June 2012


„Dieses Buch sich allein sich nur anzuschauen, macht Freude. Ein typografisches Kunstwerk ist es allemal.“ (Der Tagesspiegel, Gerrit Bartels, 25.11.2012)

„Die Form ist es, die den Liebesroman ‚Sound‘ von Tom M. Wolf so reizvoll macht […]: ein Multi-Track, den man sich wie ein DJ aus den Textfragmenten selbst zum individuellen Bilderreigen und Gefühlsklangteppich scratcht. Für Experimentierfreudige!“ (Madame, Friederike Albat, Dezember 2012)

„Gleich im Prolog, wenn das Auge auf die ersten Sätze wie eine Nadel auf eine Vinylrille trifft, wird deutlich: dieser Roman ist eine Hommage an die gute alte Schallplatte. Eine experimentelle, kreisförmige, verspielte zitatgespickte, locker erzählte Boy-meets-Girl-Story an Jerseys Küste, die Rap-Fan T.M. Wolf mit einer A- und B-Seite, Dialogsequenzen auf mehreren Ebenen und verschiedenen Schrifttypen für die Charaktere konzipiert hat.“ (Subway, November 2012)

„Das Ritual des Plattenauflegens hat Wolf hier auf ganz besondere Art und Weise zu Papier gebracht.“ (Radio Eins, Die Literaturagenten, 28.10.2012)

„Toll experimentell!“ (NEON, 11/2012)

„Achtung, dieses Buch fordert zum Mitmachen auf, und das macht ziemlich viel Spaß!“ (Glamour, 11/2012)

„Es gibt sie immer wieder. Diese Debüt-Romane, die einen von der ersten Seite fesseln und bis zum Ende hin nicht mehr loslassen. Der amerikanische Autor T. M. Wolf hat mit seinem Buch ‚Sound‘ gerade einen solch grandiosen Einstand hingelegt, dass wir aus dem Grinsen gar nicht mehr herauskommen.“ (Zuckerkick, Alexander Nickel-Hopfengart, 09.10.2012) 

„Tom M. Wolf hat eine neue Erzählform entwickelt, die Gleichzeitigkeit von Gedanken und Rede, von Geschichte und Klang ermöglicht.“ (RBB Kulturradio, Margit Miosga, 01.10.2012)

„T.M. Wolf hat ein richtig gutes Roadmovie von der amerikanischen Ostküste geschrieben, jungs, musikalisch, maritim.“ (Chrismon, Oktober 2012)

…Ort der Handlung, New Jersey. Eine Gegend, deren welkenden Glamour und Charme Tom M.Wolf so präzise einfängt wie einst Bruce Springsteen, der wohl berühmteste Sohn New Jerseys überhaupt. Und so kommt auch „Sound“ am Ende daher wie ein „Boss“-Song auf Papier. Denn die Geschichten von Jungen und Mädchen werden immer modern sein.“ (Kultur Spiegel, Christoph Dallach, 24.09.2012)

„Anfangs mühsam zu lesen, entwickelt der Roman des passionierten Hip-Hop-Hörers Wolf aus seinen Loops und Samples das, was neue Literatur leider allzu oft vermissen lässt: einen wirklich eigenen Sound.“ (Business Punk, 03/2012)


10 Wonderful Love Stories Told in Unconventional Ways, Flavorwire

Faber Tunes into Debut Novel, The Bookseller

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