Aurora World Tour, 1978-1979, Chapters 1–3 


Daisy’s drug use starts to get out of hand with Nicky around. She starts to forget the words to songs, stays out later than anyone else, and nearly burns down a hotel room. One night, Nicky and Daisy go to the roof of a hotel while high, and when he says it might be fun if they jump off, Daisy starts to worry about what a mistake she made in marrying him. Then, she wakes up in a shower, and Nicky is clearly worried about her because he thought she’d overdosed. She realizes that, even though he thought she might die, he didn’t do anything about it, and she divorces him. After that, Daisy comes back to herself and starts using drugs less. The band wins a Grammy and she gives the acceptance speech, saying the album is for anyone who is hung up on someone or something. Elaine Chang tells the interviewer that Daisy seems to have become self-actualized after leaving Nicky and that Daisy was on top of the world during that time.  

Chapter 1 

When Karen finds out she’s pregnant, she and Graham fight. Karen feels frustrated because Graham insists that she’s going to regret not having the baby. Though Graham is upset, he’s sure that Karen is going to change her mind and realize that she wants to be a mother and start a family with him. 

Chapter 2 

Billy and Daisy start talking again shortly after Nicky leaves. They perform “Turn it Off” on Saturday Night Live, and a rock critic comments that Billy and Daisy looked like they belonged together on stage. The band describes the electricity and talent between them, saying they couldn’t take their eyes off one another. At the last minute, Billy decides to switch up their second set, and Billy and Daisy perform “A Hope Like You” rather than the song they had practiced with the whole band. As Daisy begins singing, she realizes that she’s in love with Billy. Billy admits that, though he always loved Camila, he was also in love with Daisy. He says he and Daisy were two halves, but that he would always choose to be with Camila despite his connection with Daisy. Camila is heartbroken by what she sees in the performance but she chooses to trust Billy. After the show, Daisy goes to Billy’s hotel room and tells him she wants to get clean. They spend the night together talking, and in the morning Billy gets a call that Teddy has died of a heart attack.   

Chapter 3 

The band stops touring, and they go to Teddy’s funeral. Billy mourns his mentor and wonders if he can write an album without Teddy. He realizes he needs to go back on the road, and this time Camila and their daughters, Julia, Susana, and Maria, join them on the tour. Daisy struggles with the knowledge that she’s in love with Billy once they start touring again. It breaks her heart to be around him and to sing with him every night even though she can’t be with him. Toward the end of the tour, Pete decides to get married to his longtime girlfriend and announces he’s leaving the band. Camila goes with Karen to get an abortion, and though Camila wishes that Karen wanted kids, she understands Karen needs different things in order to be happy. When Karen tells Graham that she’s no longer pregnant, he is heartbroken and struggles to continue with the tour. 


The unreliability of memory emerges as a motif, illustrating how elusive, maybe even impossible, a single version of the truth is when it comes to storytelling. This is evident in Daisy’s memory loss and the band’s differing accounts of their final performances together. Throughout the novel, people tell different versions of the same events, differing on everything from the small details to the deepest emotional truths. For example, everyone seems to agree that there was a fire in Daisy’s hotel room, but Karen says Daisy almost burned down the Chelsea in New York, while Daisy says the fire happened in Boston and that it was Nicky’s fault. This destabilizes the reader’s sense of truth and encourages a sense of openness in which there is a truth to every character’s story. When she starts forgetting the lyrics to songs onstage, it becomes clear that drug use is also affecting Daisy’s memory. Daisy realizes that she was staying high to try and make herself forget her feelings for Billy, and it’s only after she’s sober that she remembers herself and realizes she’s in love with Billy. By juxtaposing differences between people’s memories of the past with Daisy’s forgetting herself, this section illustrates how elusive absolute truth is. 

This section also explores the creative and destructive power of love through Billy and Daisy’s revelation that they are in love with each other. Throughout the novel, the two have avoided naming the force between them as love. Instead, they have used different language, often referring to a sense of recognition, understanding, and reflection. They both have described seeing themselves in each other and remark that they bring out the best in each other, especially creatively. When Daisy realizes that she has been using drugs to escape her feelings for Billy, she teases out both the destructive and creative power of the emotions between them. In avoiding that power and losing herself to Nicky, she nearly destroys herself. Similarly, when Billy admits that he is in love with Daisy, he does so with extreme difficulty. This underscores how his love for Daisy nearly destroys his life with his wife and daughters. While Billy and Daisy both suffer because of their love for each other, they also create something palpable, powerful, and moving to everyone who encounters them. 

Throughout the novel, friendship between women serves as an antidote to often confining gender roles. The friendship between Camila and Karen allows Karen to move toward the life she wants, one in which she is not defined by motherhood or by being someone’s wife. This stands in contrast to her relationship with Graham, who struggles to understand Karen and often assumes that she wants the future he does, one with children and a house together. Though Camila wishes that Karen wanted the kind of life she has with Billy, she understands that Karen is different, and helps her build the life she wants. When she supports Karen through her abortion, Camila defines friendship as holding people’s hand through the hardest parts of life. Karen and Camila’s friendship often serves as a wake-up call, and a source of support and grounding for Karen that helps her navigate the world. Further, Camila’s support is integral in Karen striking out to create a life in which she can live alone. This is an unconventional life for a woman in that era, but one Karen finds in part because she is supported by Camila, who lets her be exactly who she is.