Thank You For the Music

thank-you-for-the-music HaperCollins, 2004

In 14 original stories, Jane McCafferty illuminates modern life, weaving her love of music throughout the lives and stories of her characters. From two middle-aged strangers who meet in an empty baseball stadium during a rainstorm, to a 23-year-old man who brings his 62-year-old wife home to meet his parents, to a young couple who live next door to an unemployed clown and his wife, these stories are at one unexpected and enthralling.

This collection of short stories, linked by the theme of music, is a gorgeous follow-up to One Heart, award-winning writer Jane McCafferty’s critically acclaimed debut novel.


“At the heart of this work… lies an uncanny talent for making the the implausible both believable and poignant. Characters’ lives take the strangest turns in Thank You for the Music, and yet a reader navigating the terrain of these 14 short stories is likely to experience compassion and recognition as often as surprise. McCafferty captures her characters at these moments when they are most vulnerable, most pushed to the edge, and then leads them just beyond the edge — not to watch them fall, but to witness the unexpected ways they are buoyed up. ”
– Catherine Tudish, Valley News

“McCafferty is a gifted writer and observer of the nuances of modern loneliness, especially adolescent angst. Her characters — confused teenagers, lonely divorcees, married couples going through the motions — often find solace from their despair in the most unexpected places.”
Christina Rouvalis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Like a favorite old mix tape, McCafferty’s collection of 14 stories tugs at the heartstrings and illuminates life’s pivotal moments… McCafferty (One Heart) offers tales as down-to-earth as the Bruce Springsteen tunes that unite a lonely woman with a young boy from the other side of the tracks in “Dear Mr. Springsteen,” and as irresistible as any pop song.”
– Publishers Weekly
McCafferty (One Heart, 1999) has a wicked sense of humor and a whimsical way with a plot. In the 14 stories collected here, the spiky humor is omnipresent, and the outcomes are never predictable… Loneliness and the unexpected, life-affirming connections that people are capable of forging with strangers are favorite themes. Music is ever-present, sometimes in the background, sometimes more prominently, serving as a cue to both mood and meaning. These are funny and uplifting stories for fans of the form.
Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist