3000 Miles


213 pages
ISBN 1-55022-686-X
DDC C813'.6





Reviewed by Douglas Ivison

Douglas Ivison is an assistant professor of English at Lakehead
University in Thunder Bay.


Based on a true story, music journalist Jason Schneider’s first novel
tells the story of three young Québécois who, in the aftermath of the
1994 suicide of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, decide to leave their
small northern Quebec mill town for a road trip across North America
with the goal of visiting Cobain’s Seattle home and then committing

The opening epigraph, from the great music journalist Lester Bangs’s
essay on the suicide of Cleveland punk Peter Laughner, suggests that
this novel should be read as a meditation on the phenomenon of
adolescent hero-worship of self-involved, self-destructive rock stars
who think little about how their behaviour affects their fans.
Unfortunately, 3,000 Miles has less to say on this subject than does the
brief epigraph from Bangs. We do see the disillusionment of André, the
group’s charismatic leader, at the sight of Cobain’s house in a
wealthy suburb of Seattle, and his resulting awareness of the
disconnection between Cobain’s life and his own dead-end future. Yet
we have little sense of the real impact of Nirvana, or of rock music in
general, on these three young men, nor does the novel present much
insight into the motivation for their trip. This is partly because none
of the characters come to life as fully realized individuals.

Moreover, the narrative of the trip itself is relatively uninteresting
and devoid of drama. Schneider attempts to create reader interest by
introducing conflict and incident, but for the most part these are
unsuccessful. The biggest weakness is the writing itself: it’s solid
and competent, but never really grabs the reader. Also, Schneider fails
to present a convincing portrait of Québécois kids; although we are
told that their English is not very good and they’re more comfortable
in French, nearly all the cultural references are English (for instance,
they watch MuchMusic, not Musiqueplus). The reader is left with the
impression that Schneider didn’t do the necessary research to ground
these characters in the culture that produced them.

3,000 Miles is readable, but, unfortunately, not all that interesting.


Schneider, Jason., “3000 Miles,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/16305.