Novel set in Cambridge’s folk music world wins indie-publisher prize

Scott Alarik’s “Revival” won a Book Publishers Association award last month.

It’s not just singer-songwriters and folkies enthusing about “Revival,” the novel by Boston Globe columnist Scott Alarik set in the roots music world in general and Cambridge specifically.

While its Amazon page was already packed with industry blurbs, reader testimonials and five-star ratings, the book — which got its own month in Harvard Square in September to celebrate its release — also got the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Popular Fiction last month.

The awards are presented annually by the Independent Book Publishers Association at a ceremony just before Book Expo America opens in New York. This year’s event, June 4, saw awards for excellence presented in dozens of categories, all judged on editorial and design merit by top practitioners in each field, according to the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based association.

The award is well-timed to boost “Revival” as a summer read, said Michelle Conceison, Alarik’s marketer for the novel.

“We’ve had a lot of folks tell us they loved reading it on vacation,” Conceison said, noting also that readers might find a pleasing synchronicity in the plotting as “the characters escape the city for summer music festivals and other destinations.”

An even stronger argument is from the unsolicited reader reviews, though, since even the harsher critics give Alarik props for “an understanding of what it’s like to be on the other side of the microphone,” even if his “romantic” take on the world of folk music passes over its most brutal, cutthroat aspects.

But 73 percent of reviews between Amazon and Apple’s iTunes are five-star reviews, with many seeming enraptured by Alarik’s work:

“Revival” is a delightful read, especially for musicians! The story, the nuances, the wisdom, the information, the familiar characters and places, the humor, all pulled together with such love and honesty. It hit home for me at so many levels. Honestly, I could not wait each day to go back and read some more along with my morning coffee.

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