The Words of Every Song is a literate and original debut novel in the form of fourteen linked episodes, each centered on a character involved with the music industry in some fashion. There's the arrogantly hip, twenty-six-year-old A&R man; the rising young singer-songwriter; the established, arena-filling rock star on the verge of a midlife crisis; the type-A female executive with the heavy social calendar; and other recognizable figures.

Set in the sleek offices, high-tech recording studios, and grungy downtown clubs of New York, The Words of Every Song offers an authenticity drawn from Liz Moore's own experience and brings an insider's touch to its depiction of the music industry and its denizens.


"This is a remarkable novel, elegant, wise, and beautifully constructed.
I loved the book..."

"Likeable, well-rendered, sweet."

"Imagine having happened upon Dylan singing in Harvard Square, or having caught one of Joni Mitchell's early shows at an empty club. This is how I felt reading Liz Moore's lyrical and powerful debut novel, like I was witnessing a timeless artist on the verge of transcendence. The Words of Every Song is a virtuoso performance."

"In her impressive debut, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Moore crafts a clever cycle of interconnected short stories about players in New York City's music industry, from a bitter record exec who hates her parents to the self-obsessed hot young thing who binge-eats and blows her shot at superstardom. Moore's heroes are mostly disillusioned, depressive types: Consider the A&R guy whose acts all flop, or the guitarist whose ex-girlfriend kills herself and mails him her suicide note. But some are funny, like the journalist covering a band's show who writes most of his review before they take the stage. Moore's point about ambition-that it's the root of both humor and despair-is hard to miss."


"Liz Moore's The Words of Every Song is the kind of book you want to read twice. The first time you read it for the well-told story, the second time for another look at the inventive way she tells it."

"A young veteran of the New York club circuit meditates on music and the people who make it in a confident, affecting debut collection. Theo Brigham is an A&R executive poised between innocence and experience. Jax Powers-Kline, his boss at Titan Records, is about to learn that she long ago ceased to be human. Siobhan O'Hara is the leader of a band that Theo hopes will be big, but most likely won't. Tommy Mays is an indisputable rock star, Titan's most popular, most lucrative act. These are just a few of the characters-some hopeful, some successful, all on the brink of transformation-whose stories are intertwined. Moore is a musician herself, and her depiction of the music industry rings true. But it's the stories concerning adolescence that are the strongest-like, "A Terrible Dancer," about the fattest member of a teen girl group. Moore is, most vitally, a writer capable of capturing a character or a scene with one or two luminous details. As outstanding as this book is, it's almost as remarkable for what it isn't-not an expose, tell-all or satire. The reader isn't forced to extract enjoyment by, say, guessing who Tommy Mays really is. He really is a rock star who sometimes sings songs that he hates because his label likes them. Sweet, wistful, artfully arranged: like the best mix tape anyone ever made for you."