"In Ribot's fearless playing and equally acerbic prose, silence has a mighty fight on its hands."
–California Review of Books
"At its best, Ribot's writing resembles his music: It's challenging, unique, and very humane."
"[Ribot] continuously straddles the line between memoir and fiction as he travels an eclectic road of loss, justice, tribute, and blunt humor."
"Unstrung . . . delivers everything one could hope from a guitar hero/activist/cultural critic: that is, complex culture and musical theory broken down into tasteful riffs, absurdist tales of our times, and plenty of sparse, unpretentious prose as well-honed as any major American writer."
"In literature as in music, addressing topics directly isn't Ribot's way. . . As a sideman–with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithfull, Yoko Ono, Arto Lindsay, James Carter, Susana Baca, the Jazz Passengers, and his musical soulmate John Zorn, among countless others–he's always aimed to be direct and disruptive simultaneously, and the same goes for his writing."
–Robert Christgau, And It Don't Stop
"Unstrung is proof that the iconoclast Marc Ribot has a way with words commensurate with his guitar virtuosity . . . Ribot's is the voice of an outsider breaking through. It's the voice of an original."
"Ribot is an all-American original, and this collection provides plenty of insight into his fascinating mind."
"Ribot is not only a gifted musician but also a talented wordsmith, and this quirky volume will appeal to music aficionados who appreciate strong writing with observational, intelligent, and provocative themes."
"Unstrung has all the honesty, original angles, beauty, and clangor found in Marc Ribot's playing. His compassionate writing about Frantz Casseus gives a human face to his calls for artists' rights. Like life itself, this book is bloody, funny, and bloody funny."
–Elvis Costello, musician
"An insightful tour through the razor-sharp mind of one of the world's most original and influential guitar masters. Ribot's acerbic wit, self-deprecating humor, and profoundly vexing love-hate relationship with all things guitar make for a fun and stimulating read."
–John Zorn, musician
"Ribot writes with great care for words, for sounds. . . A good writer, like a good musician, and Ribot is both, needs to know what they're composing to be able to understand it, maybe even do it better the next time. His stories are moving and compassionate. . . revelatory, honest, and insightful. . . "
–Lynne Tillman, from the introduction
"In the beginning, we may have thought Marc Ribot was a full-time Lower East Side tenants rights activist who moonlit as an ubiquitous downtown noise guitarist. Now we come to find out he's a phenomenal essay writer who has the nerve to be one of our loudest and most beloved electric jazz improvisers. . . [Ribot] composes essays about music and life of sublime wit, probity, and severe self-reckoning. . . "
–Greg Tate, author of Everything But the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture
"Don't let the fact that I am calling Marc Ribot a thinking musician distract from the raw and the righteous aspects of his playing and of this book. You have to love something completely to want to look for a way out. Here is more proof of Marc's love and understanding of music, of those who make it and of all the imaginings that it might jar loose!"
–Arto Lindsay, musician