From his first steps to his lost loves, every significant moment of Adam Sharp's life is underpinned by a soundtrack that charts musical history.
The main character's love of music is the heartbeat that runs through The Best of Adam Sharp, so author Graeme Simsion has put together a playlist of Adam's favourite tracks to listen to while you read the book.
Here are five songs that mark big moments in his story...
1. Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
IT consultant by day, renegade piano-player by night, Adam is playing Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ in a bar in Australia, 1989, when Angelina Brown walks into his life. Filled with memories and haunted by the idea of lost love, the song sums up the ‘What if…?’ that runs throughout Adam’s life and the whole novel.
2. The Patti Smith Group - Because the Night
This song is the one Angelina asks Adam to play that first night at the bar. Fittingly, it’s filled with promise of what is to come, as the two characters bond over a mutual love and their intimate knowledge of the song. It sets the stage for a connection that lasts throughout Adam’s six months in Australia, and survives the twenty-something years that follow.
3. The Beatles - You’re Going to Lose that Girl
Adam plays this song as Angelina’s boyfriend comes to escort her away from the bar (and Adam) on that first night. A risky choice from the first chord, it demonstrates Angelina’s need for more in life and Adam’s willingness to give it to her.
4. Bob Dylan & Manfred Mann - If You Gotta Go, Go Now
Another reccurring theme in the book is the potential impact of decisions made in a split second. As he nears his fiftieth birthday, Adam’s reflects on how his life in England has been shaped by one such decision made more than twenty years ago in Australia - he still wonders how it might be different if he had made another choice. When, after years out of touch, he receives a one-word email from Angelina, that question starts to trouble him more and more.
5. Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts & Juice Newton - Angel of the Morning
The final song that Angelina and Adam play together back in 1990s Australia, this track symbolises the end of their brief time together. It’s about self-awareness and heartbreak, and echoes their nostalgia for what might have been - both at this moment, and twenty years on.
Listen to the full playlist
Find out more about the author
The heart warming new novel from Graeme Simsion, the international bestselling author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect
Can you define your life by a single song?
Adam Sharp - former pianist in a hip Melbourne bar, now a respectable IT consultant in Norwich - can. And it's 'You're Going to Lose that Girl' . . .
On the cusp of fifty and a happy introvert, Adam is content. He's the music expert at his local pub-quiz and he and his partner Claire rumble along. Life may not be rock n' roll, but neither is it easy listening. Yet something has always felt off-key.
And that's his nostalgia for what might have been, his blazing affair - more than twenty years ago, on the other side of the world - with Angelina Brown, a smart and sexy, strong-willed actress who taught him for the first time, as he played piano and she sang, what it meant to find - and then lose - love. How different might his life be if he hadn't let her walk away?
Then, out of nowhere, Angelina gets in touch. Adam has sung about second chances, but does he have the courage to believe in them?
The Best of Adam Sharp is about growing old and feeling young, about happy times and sad memories, about staying together and drifting apart, but most of all, it's about how the music we make together creates the soundtrack that shapes our lives.