In the most transparent work of wish fulfillment since Christopher finished Cleaver, actor Michael Imperioli has penned a new novel about becoming best pals with Lou Reed. The Sopranos star—who wrote several episodes of the show, in addition to working on the screenplays for Summer Of Sam and The Hungry Ghosts—will make his literary debut with the April 3 book The Perfume Burned His Eyes, a coming-of-age tale that explores every teenage boy’s fantasy: befriending Lou Reed.
Titled after a line from Reed’s “Romeo Had Juliette,” The Perfume Burned His Eyes is set in 1976, and concerns a 16-year-old boy named Matthew who’s just lost his father. After his mother uproots them to move from Queens to a fancy apartment building in Manhattan, Matthew discovers he’s now neighbors with Reed and his transgender lover Rachel (the same one mentioned in Coney Island Baby). Reed—then in the full bloom of his post-Metal Machine Music misanthropy. Reed then becomes a sort of father figure to Matthew as he navigates his new school and a budding romance with a girl he meets there. It’s just like The Karate Kid, in other words, only with more meth and grousing about Lester Bangs.
Imperioli has spoken before about his worship of The Velvet Underground frontman, telling Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, “Lou is my hero, basically, out of anybody.” In that same 2016 episode, Imperioli also recalled how Reed, who was apparently a big Sopranos fan, once called him back after a 2000 show, leading to an email friendship that kept the two in touch until Reed’s death in 2013. And now Imperioli’s turned their relationship into a novel that early reviews have called touching and vividly realized, and one that could inspire you to write your own novels where you’re friends with famous musicians, and they can’t do anything about it! Peter Gabriel and you could run a bed and breakfast together! You could go fly fishing with Ice Cube! You can do anything in a book!