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To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse

1 of Pitchfork's 10 Best Music Books of 2023
  • Author
    • Howard Fishman
Regular price £14.99
Regular price Sale price £14.99

Anticipated publication date

May 02, 2024

We will deliver the product within a reasonable period of time following the publication date, which is an estimated date and is subject to change. Whilst we anticipate that the book will be published on this date, should this date change, we will notify you within a reasonable period of time.


"It takes a great journalist to find the stories behind the mysteries we carry. Howard Fishman has done that with his superb examination of Connie Converse." - Ken Burns

"Nothing short of remarkable." - Publishers Weekly

"A massive and fascinating feat." - MOJO Magazine

The true story of Connie Converse - a mid-century New York singer and songwriter, who mysteriously disappeared - and one writer's quest to understand her life.

When musician and New Yorker contributor Howard Fishman first heard a Connie Converse recording, he was convinced she could not be real. Her music was too out of place for the 1950s to make sense - a singer who bridged the gap between traditional Americana, pop standards, and the singer-songwriter movement that exploded a decade later with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

Fishman was determined to know more about this artist and how she slipped through the cracks of music history but there was one problem: in 1974, at the age of fifty, Converse simply drove off one day and was never heard from again.

After a dozen years of research, Fishman expertly weaves a narrative of her life and music, and of how it has come to speak to him as both an artist and a person.

It is by turns a hopeful, inspiring, melancholy, and chilling story of dark family secrets, taciturn New England traditions, a portrait of 1950s Greenwich Village, of a visionary intellect and talent, and a woman who fiercely strove for independence when the odds were against her. Who was this overlooked trailblazer, how did she come to make such complex and arresting music, and can Fishman discover what happened to the artist who disappeared?
  • Published: May 02 2024
  • ISBN: 9781035408887

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Press Reviews

  • Library Journal
    Musician, culture writer, and playwright Fishman's extraordinary trek through the life and works of Connie Converse is a laudable endeavor... the author constructs an emotional narrative ... [To Anyone Who Ever Asks is] an interesting foray into Converse's glimmer of fame and sad subsequent neglect.
  • Kirkus
    [Fishman's] enthusiasm and diligence is infectious . . . Through the obsession of such dedicated fans as Fishman, Connie Converse will find a larger audience.
  • William Kennedy, Pulitzer prize-winning author of IRONWEED

    The mystery of American composer Connie Converse's disappearance in 1974 is ongoing, and she may be lost forever. But her spectacular work has been rescued and elevated to a marvelous level by Howard Fishman. Her music belongs to an America that barely knows it exists.
  • Anaïs Mitchell, Tony and Grammy-winning creator of HADESTOWN, and author of WORKING ON A SONG

    Connie Converse's songs are a revelation, finely wrought, wry, as beautiful as they are weird. I'm so grateful this enigmatic writer and her catalogue are being explored and celebrated, in this book and beyond.
  • Washington Post
    [To Anyone Who Ever Asks] is the grandly researched portrait of a talent who didn't get her due, a kind of worst-case study of why this indignity remains a brutally common occurrence ... [it]is simultaneously the record of an obsession and its ultimate payoff. It's hard to think of any book that grants such loving attention to an artist who has otherwise been denied it.
  • Wall Street Journal
    Gripping and searching... Mr. Fishman's thoughtful and deeply researched book provides a far bolder jolt than any cover version can provide. It may yet help find for Converse what the author proposes-a place at 'the table of great American artists and thinkers'.
  • Boston Globe
    Packed with detective-level details about a Renaissance woman whose work passed through this world all but unnoticed.
  • MOJO Magazine
    A massive and fascinating feat.
    Uncovers a haunting picture of a troubled life.