Rubber Soul is a novel by Kihn that captures the spirit of Beatlemania from within the world of The Beatles. It takes the reader from the earlier days of the band to the novel’s climatic end in Manila.
With Rubber Soul, Kihn, who could claim the title of the fifth Beatle with his work, creates one of the best historical fiction pieces ever written on the topic of The Beatles. A true fan of the group, Kihn keeps the story within the actual confines of Beatle events while adding a fictional story, with the novel’s main character Bobby Dingle, that runs parallel.
Even more so, Kihn sprinkles hidden gems throughout the novel that brings the story to life. He skillfully works Beatle lyrics into the dialogue between characters. Not to mention all the nods to other rock ‘n roll acts. Those who know their rock history will appreciate the work Kihn has done. Even something as simple as using the name of “Rolling Rock” beer proves that every aspect of the story was given thoughtful consideration; a mark of a gifted and dedicated writer.
In part, Rubber Soul is a coming of age story surrounded by one of the most important cultural revolutions of the 20th century. The main character, Dingle, matures as events in his life force him into the next stages of his life. Leaving home, relationships, first experiences, love, and marriage are a few of the events that Dingle experiences, which many readers can identify with.
It’s the human element and the foundation of relationships that gives Rubber Soul its heart and soul. While the events in the characters’ lives may test them, it’s the strength of their friendships and relationships that allows them to bounce back and rise to each of their personal challenges.
Kihn writes in such a way that he invites the reader to travel along the journey. You’re there in the hotel with George, Paul, John and Ringo, you’re backstage at the Cavern, you’re at the Ed Sullivan Show or at the Hi De Ho Shop purchasing as many records as the characters’ arms could carry. It feels as though you’ve become personal friends with the characters and it prompts you to turn the pages as quickly as possible to find the next Beatle interaction.
Solid dialogue gives any story believability. The reader has to believe that the characters would actually speak in the manner in which they do and Kihn does a superb job at this. He works the English manner of speaking in perfectly. Because of the strong dialogue, the speaking voices of The Beatles come to life in the reader’s imagination, especially when it comes to George Harrison and Paul McCartney.
Without giving it away, the parallel fictional story between Dingle, his brother and The Beatles, that climaxes in Manila, is incredible well-crafted and extremely realistic.
While the RIAA may not be able to certify Kihn’s work with a gold disc, fans of Kihn and The Beatles, as well as those who long for the simpler yet magical time of the 1960’s will thoroughly enjoy and fall in love with Rubber Soul. They certainly don’t write ’em like this anymore.
There is only one problem with Rubber Soul. You’re left wanting more. It is a roller coaster of a ride around the world and, as a reader, you want the ride to continue forever. Knowing Kihn, the ride will continue and as fans we will just have to wait patiently in line for his next release.