Vancouver novelist Chong (Baroque-A-Nova, 2002) hits the road with a few buddies to retrace Neil Young's steps to rock stardom.

Vancouver novelist Chong (Baroque-A-Nova, 2002) hits the road with a few buddies to retrace Neil Young's steps to rock stardom.

In 2004, Chong was nearing 30 and having a hard time with his second novel. He decided to stave off maturity a little longer by following the trail of fellow Canadian Young from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay and Toronto, then down to California. This "Wild Neil Chase," Chong explains, "was cooked up on the fly, and with little premeditation." Chong brought along a few buddies, including the gregarious welder Dave, "the one I could count on to shuck everything to eat Taco Bell and share a double bed with another dude." After failing to secure a hearse for the trip (Young had a thing for hearses and made many fabled road trips in them), the friends, having renamed themselves "Team Crazy Horse," amble across Canada, searching for the places Young lived and hung out (Chong occasionally interviews people with vague connections to the rocker). There is never any pretense that this trip is much more than a half-baked escape from responsibility, which actually allows the voyagers (and readers) to enjoy themselves. Chong has a self-deprecating wit that never gets too showy and a knack for the perfectly placed grace note.

An ambling and chatty road trip journal that becomes a surprisingly meaningful rumination on getting old without fading away.

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