Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week – October 18, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

In the weekly Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week, the Montreal bookstore recommends several new works of fiction, art books, periodicals, and comics.

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is one of Montreal’s premiere independent bookstores.

Daybreak

Daybreak by Brian Ralph

Now adapted into a Netflix original series, Brian Ralph’s 2011 zombie thriller graphic novel has been reissued in a beautiful hardcover edition by Drawn & Quarterly. The zombie apocalypse field is pretty crowded at this point, but Daybreak was and remains a truly original take on survival horror. Ralph’s grim story is laced with a surprising sense of humour and vulnerability, and his scratchy pen work is almost cutesy, at times. Most uniquely, the story is told in the second person: the protagonist addresses himself directly to the reader, who acts as a character in the story–a startling device that makes for a one-of-a-kind reading experience. Whether or not you watch the show, check out the original!

The Man Who Saw Everything

The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy

Deborah Levy’s hotly-anticipated, Booker Prize-longlisted new novel is out! Levy is much beloved of our staff, who were enamoured with her smart, sexy novel Hot Milk (also a Booker nominee) and her unparalleled “living autobiography,” which so far has two volumes (we can’t wait for the third!). The Man Who Saw Everything is an ambitious, elliptical novel that loops back and forth in time, circling around the moment when Saul Adler, a self-absorbed young historian doing research in Communist East Germany, is struck by a car–not in the GDR, but while crossing London’s Abbey Road. This artful, electrifying story explores old and new love, the past and present of Europe, and the cyclical nature of history while blurring sexual and political binaries.

Exquisite Mariposa

Exquisite Mariposa by Fiona Alison Duncan

We were thrilled to host the launch for Exquisite Mariposa last week, the autofictional debut novel by Fiona Alison Duncan aka Fifidunks aka F.A.D., an LA-based writer, sexpert, astrologer, former D&Q employee, and host of the Hard to Read and Pillow Talk reading series. Following its protagonist on a search for the Real amid the unreal worlds of art, literature, and celebrity, Exquisite Mariposa introduces an intimate cast of friends and lovers trying to navigate art-making, obsession, and the internet in this economy. Chris Kraus calls it one of “the great Young Girl books of becoming”!

The Body: A Guide for Occupants

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

Beloved travel and science writer Bill Bryson is the kind of big-picture nonfiction author who delights in making the world more understandable. Holding no fewer than eleven honorary doctorates, Bryson has unparalleled ability to bring the macro down to size (A Short History of Nearly Everything). With this book, he explodes the micro, looking at the minutiae of the human body in light of millions of years of evolutionary history. Entertaining, enlightening, and accessible!

Persephone’s Garden

Persephone’s Garden by Glynnis Fawkes

Vermont-based comic artist Glynnis Fawkes came to drawing from a unique path: as an archaeological illustrator. Having worked on sites in Greece, Crete, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Lebanon, she began drawing comics that reflected her experiences an archaeologist and a mother, which have won her several awards. Her latest book, Persephone’s Garden, is a collection of short comics that look at girlhood, womanhood, and motherhood through memory, history, and mythology.

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly’s website
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly’s blog
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Facebook page
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Tumblr
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on Twitter

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

Cathy Ulrich’s Playlist for Her Short Story Collection "Ghosts of You"

This post was originally published on this site
Ghosts of You

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Cathy Ulrich’s collection Ghosts of You is filled with inventively written and engaging stories.

BuzzFeed wrote of the book:

“In her debut flash fiction collection, Ulrich focuses on the bodies of murdered women, rendering each story with a crystalline focus on how women often bear the brunt of violence and calling into question the common narratives around this fact. Each story starts with the same line, which by the end has the effect of an incantation. The reality of misogyny can make for rough reading, even in fiction, but the short form and Ulrich’s skill at avoiding the sensational make it worth it.”

In her own words, here is Cathy Ulrich’s Book Notes music playlist for her short story collection Ghosts of You:

This is a book about murdered women. This is what I tell people when they say, oh, you have a book? What’s it about?

Murdered women.

I might talk about fridging, about plot points, about erasure. I might talk about how women’s deaths are so often used to set the plot in motion.

But really, when someone asks what’s your book about? I say: murdered women.

I am always listening to music. Especially when I write. I’ll sit in the break room at work with its gaudy tablecloth and creaking ancient chairs and put my headphones on and pretend I can’t hear the ringing phone that my coworkers aren’t answering.

Each of the stories in this book has a piece of music in them. Here’s a list of some:

Girl – Timecop1983 (feat. Seawaves) (Story: Being the Murdered Moll)

I can always get lost in this song and its crescendoing retro keyboard chords, its love story of a couple on the run from the law. When I wrote this story, I was in love with someone. I’d say to them, let’s rob a bank instead of I love you. I think the girl in this song said it too. Like the girl in the story.

Laura Palmer’s Prom – You Say Party! We Say Die! (Story: Being the Murdered Girl)

This was the first story that I wrote in this series, when it wasn’t even a series at all. I think the girl in it looks like Laura Palmer, or maybe she even is Laura Palmer. I wonder if she would have gone to her prom.

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend – Marilyn Monroe (Story: Being the Murdered Actress)

I like Marilyn’s voice in this, the wispiness of it. I like how it feels like it’s okay to call her Marilyn, like we’re friends, like I know her. It wasn’t really her name, of course. I think the actress in this story has a made-up name too. I think, if she sang this song, she would have struggled to hit the high notes, to wear that smile.

Gunshot – Lykke Li (Story: Being the Murdered Lover)

The lover in this story is thought of by most of the characters as a greedy thing, only sleeping with the rich man for his gifts, but I think she really loved him. I imagine her waiting for his calls, his texts, alone in her room, dancing barefoot to this song, feeling the passion in this song, thinking of the touch of her lover’s mouth on hers.

Hold Yr Terror Close – The Go! Team (Story: Being the Murdered Classmate)

I remember a couple of years ago, my daughter and her classmates were sure there was a pack of murderous clowns roaming the country. It was a children’s rumor that spread all over. It’s easier for them to do that now than when I was a child, but we had them too, these monsters that were coming for us. This story is about one of those children’s rumors. The song is about walking home in the dark, and it brings up that feeling for me, that bottom-of-the-stomach terror that these monsters evoke.

Why Don’t You Do Right – Peggy Lee (Story: Being the Murdered Chanteuse)

When I worked at the local newspaper, I once input an obituary for a man who had dated Peggy Lee in high school. No one believed him until she saw him at, I think it was, a football game she performed at halftime for, shouted his name and ran over and hugged him. Since then, she’s been one of my favorite songstresses, has felt like she is connected to me somehow. I can see the chanteuse in this story singing this song, can’t you? And maybe following it up with some Aretha Franklin.

The Moon Hangs in the Sky Like Nothing Hangs in the Sky – Yohuna (Story: Being the Murdered Indian)

There’s a moment in this story, where the victim’s family attends her father’s funeral and her uncle stops in the parking lot and breaks down, not because his brother is dead, but because his niece still can’t be found. The moon is in the blue sky then, the moon is a witness. This song is like that moment.

Origins – Tennis (Story: Being the Murdered Wife)

I was thinking of Joan Vollmer when I wrote this. I was thinking how she was a talent in her own right, a person in her own right, until she was killed by her husband. How he became famous and admired. How she became an appendix in his story. I like the line in this song, have you confused your power with mine?

Polaroid smmr – Detective Deckard (Story: Being the Murdered Blonde)

For this story, I was thinking of how it’s easy for murders to be ignored until it is a beautiful woman, a perfect victim, a perfect woman. This song, for me, feels like being in love with someone perfect like that. And I love the sound of rainfall at the end, and those soaring, sad vocals.

Cathy Ulrich and Ghosts of You links:

The Bookends Review review
Heavy Feather Review review
Independent Book Review review

Entropy interview with the author
Rhythm Bone interview with the author
The Rumpus interview with the author
Vol. 1 Brooklyn interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 – ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 – 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 – 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film’s soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

Leland Cheuk’s Playlist for His Novel "No Good Very Bad Asian"

This post was originally published on this site
No Good Very Bad Asian

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Leland Cheuk’s novel No Good Very Bad Asian is moving, unsettling, and one of the funniest books I have read in a long time.

The Brooklyn Rail wrote of the book:

“The balance between comic and serious is crucial in literary comedy. Stray too far in either direction and you fail, becoming simplistic on one hand, boring on the other. While a perfect balance is admittedly impossible, never mind a matter of taste, Leland Cheuk does an admirable job in his latest, No Good Very Bad Asian, achieving a true synthesis of heart and humor highlighted by the fluidity of his first-person voice and a steady diet of sharp turns of prose.”

In his own words, here is Leland Cheuk’s Book Notes music playlist for his novel No Good Very Bad Asian:

My novel No Good Very Bad Asian stars a fictive famed standup comedian named Sirius Lee, who tells the story of his life to his estranged seven-year-old daughter. Despite his successes, Sirius’s life is one weighed down by racism as well as his own mistakes. It’s a book that I felt like I quite literally bled for. For research, I did standup for two and a half years. Then I was diagnosed with cancer, very luckily receiving a life-saving bone marrow transplant, and during the long recovery, finally figured out what the book was about, and finished it numerous times and somehow found a publisher to take it after a full year of rejections.

Like Sirius, despite the many ups and downs in my life and my writing, I never stopped laughing, in large part because of the comedians on this playlist.

“Energy Policy / Fat Kids” Greg Giraldo from Midlife Vices

The late, great Greg Giraldo is one of my favorite standups. Best known for being a roast comic, his albums Good Day to Cross A River and Midlife Vices are underappreciated classics. This bit about America needing big cars like SUVs to “haul their fat f–king kids up hills” is ten years old and feels every bit as relevant today.

“Crazy People and The Guy in the Garbage Can” Dov Davidoff from The Point Is

Like Giraldo, Davidoff is a comic’s comic. In recent years, he’s been most visible as a character actor in TV shows like HBO’s Crashing and NBC’s Shades of Blue. But he’s still performing on the road and authored a very funny memoir entitled Road Dog: Life and Reflections from the Road as a Stand-up Comic. The punchline from his first and only album (“How the f—k am I supposed to eat soup without an envelope?”) always gets me.

“Looking Inward” Sarah Silverman from We Are Miracles

We know her best for her irreverence, but Sarah Silverman is simply a genius-level joke writer. Vanity Fair broke down one of her bits from her recent Netflix special A Speck of Dust here—it’s one of the best bits I’ve ever seen. This bit from 2013’s We Are Miracles is made up of one brilliant joke after another (“To women of a certain age: your heartbreaking and drastic attempts to look younger are the reason your daughter doesn’t dream about her future.”)

“Crazy White Kids” Chris Rock from Bigger and Blacker

No Good Very Bad Asian is, on some level, a political book. Sirius Lee, the protagonist, talks very frankly throughout the novel about race and class. I included this bit from Chris Rock’s Bigger and Blacker because of what’s not in it—the best and most famous joke. In the original special, this bit is in it: “You don’t need no gun control. You know what you need? We need some bullet control. Man, we need to control the bullets, that’s right. l think all bullets should cost $5,000.” For some reason (the NRA? Corporate censorship?), Spotify has excised the entire “Gun Control” bit from its version of Bigger and Blacker. It can’t even be found in Rock’s greatest bits album Cheese & Crackers.

“No Frills” Ronny Chieng from Just For Laughs 2015

Audiences probably best know the Malaysian-Australian comic Ronny Chieng from Crazy Rich Asians or his time as a correspondent on The Daily Show, but he’s also one hell of a standup. This bit from Just For Laughs, the biggest international comedy festival in the world, held annually in Montreal, showcases Chieng’s observational gifts related to class (“When did the taxi ride to the airport start to cost more than the flight?”).

“Private School Asians” Ali Wong from Baby Cobra

Back when I was doing standup, I’d treat myself by going to Comedy Cellar to see Ali Wong, then far less famous than she is now. This bit touches on a number of truths you have to be Asian to understand (“Fancy Asians…host Olympics. Jungle Asians host diseases.”) and yet Wong makes them funny for a wider audience.

“Everyone is Stupid” Jen Kirkman from I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine)

How do you make climate change and the possible end of the world funny? Jen Kirkman does it here in her terrific recent Netflix special. I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) is her third album and it seems like she’s been funny for two decades and only in recent years, is she getting the acclaim she deserves. Her memoir I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids was a New York Times bestseller in 2013.

“Being Black Saved My Life” Dave Chappelle from Just For Laughs 2000

How can you have a standup playlist without a bit from Dave Chappelle. He excels at everything as a comic: he can act, he does great impressions and act-outs, and he’s a superior joke writer. This bit is from almost two decades ago, but it’s just as funny and relevant today. The subtext that makes the bit work (“Terrorists do not take black hostages.”) is the low value the American government places on black lives.

“Hello, I Have Cancer” Tig Notaro from Live

“Tragedy plus time equals comedy,” Tig Notaro says in this famed bit revealing her breast cancer diagnosis on stage at Largo in Los Angeles in 2012. (It’s convenient to forget now that this set went viral thanks to an effusive praise tweet from current persona non grata Louie C.K.) Notaro’s set, which was raw, had few punchlines, and was meant to be a private workout, reminds us that comedy has the power to address the ultimate universality—the thing that we all have in common: eventual death.

Leland Cheuk and No Good Very Bad Asian links:

the author’s website
excerpt from the book

Brooklyn Rail review

Deborah Kalb interview with the author
Literary Hub essay by the author
San Francisco Chronicle profile of the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 – ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 – 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 – 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film’s soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

Shorties (Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s Recommended Books By and About Inspiring Women, The Best Simpsons Rock Star Cameos, and more)

This post was originally published on this site
My Past Is a Foreign Country by Zeba Talkhani

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton recommended books by and about inspiring women at Stylist.


SPIN listed the best rock star cameos in The Simpsons.


October’s best eBook deals.

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

A Collapse of Horses by BrianEvenson
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Lilith’s Brood: The Complete Xenogenesis Trilogy by Octavia Butler


Stream a new song by Fran.


Book Riot recommended books by emerging authors.


Elton John talked to Fresh Air about his new autobiography, Me.


Brittany Howard played a Tiny Desk Concert.


Eleanor Davis talked to Publishers Weekly about her new graphic novel The Hard Tomorrow/em>.


Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko discussed her new album with All Songs Considered.


Literary Hub listed the best poetry collections of the past decade.


The Ringer reconsidered Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk album after 40 years.


Literary Hub shared a conversation between authors Ocean Vuong and Ben Lerner.


Stream a new Common Holly song.


Literary Hub recommended the week’s best new books.


NYCTaper shared a recent Wilco show.


BookMarks interviewed author Steph Cha.


Rolling Stone shared a playlist of terrifying songs.


Stream a short Lower Dens documentary.


Stream a new song by Jennifer Vanilla.


Stream a new X song.


Stream a new Holy Ghost! song.


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week’s best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

Marco Rafalà’s Playlist for His Novel "How Fires End"

This post was originally published on this site
How Fires End

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Marco Rafala’s novel How Fires End is an unfrgettable and epic debut.

The New York Journal of Books wrote of the book:

“Rafalà seems to love language as much as his characters love their farms and their patron saint. That’s a powerful combination, and it fuels a compelling novel.”

In his own words, here is Marco Rafalà’s Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel How Fires End:

1. Sicilia Bedda

Roberto Alagna — The Sicilian

I heard this song a lot growing up. My father always listened to the local Italian program on the radio, and when this song came on he would sing along. On the weekends, when he wasn’t working, our house was always full of Italian music but this song in particular always left my father exposed, raw—I could hear the emotion in his voice. It’s an immigrant song, seeping with nostalgia. In the song, a Sicilian laborer comes to America for work but longs to one day see home again. That yearning drips from every note as the singer declares that even when he closes his eyes, he can still see his homeland. And he vows that one day he will return to Sicily and never leave. The power this song held over my father is what drew me to music at a young age. I wanted to be the song that captured his heart, his emotional attention. If one song captures the feel of the novel, it’s this one.

2. This is the Sea

The Waterboys — This is the Sea (Deluxe Version)

This is one of the songs I imagine David listening to late into the night on headphones, looking up at the wide expanse of a starry night, getting lost in his thoughts. I imagine the song sounds familiar to David. It conjures up a yearning and sadness inside him inherited from his father. But, hope also. A promise of a way out.

3. Maps and Legends

R.E.M. — Fables of the Reconstruction (Deluxe Edition)

Fables of the Reconstruction/Reconstruction of the Fables is an eerie, saturnine album, full of haunting music. Gravity is everywhere on this record. You’ll find it not just in some of the lyrics but in the tones explored in the music itself. These are songs set to the temperament of gravity. “Maps and Legends” is one of the album’s more upbeat songs but the tone is foreboding, bleak and romantic—not hopeful or cheery. I love this song for its moodiness, for pulling me back to my former teen self with all the ache and angst of that age—how we orbit ourselves and each other in sometimes cataclysmic ways.

4. Vitti’ Na Crozza

Quartetto Franco Li Causi — Folklore Siciliano

This is a traditional Sicilian folk song. The lyrics form a dialogue between an old man and the skull of someone who died violently and without a funeral. The song is a fatalistic and existential reflection on life and the finality of death, full of bitter stoicism and sorrow. This is another one of those songs that filled my childhood home and the way my father sang it left a lasting impression on me—a feeling I tried to capture in my debut novel.

5. Close to Me

The Cure — The Head on the Door

The Cure’s “Close to Me” is one of those pop songs that just exudes a time and place so perfectly. It speaks to that time in the life of a teenager where they oscillate between hope and anxiety, between the possibilities of the horizon and the claustrophobia of uncertainty. For many teenagers in the 1980s this song spoke their language.

6. Blue Monday

New Order — Singles

In the movie of the novel that plays in my head, I imagine this song in the scene where we first see Tony bullying David, pushing his face into a dirty snowbank. As both of their fathers converge on the conflict, there’s a sense of a deep-seated history between these two men—an animosity that spills over into the way their children interact with each other.

7. Black Celebration

Depeche Mode — Black Celebration

What else is there to say about Depeche Mode’s “Black Celebration” than what David says about it?

If you could make ash and embers sing for you, these were the songs they would sing. Throwing sparks from a dying fire. And if you could be those songs, you would know what it was like to feel those red-hot embers trailing off you, floating around your body.

8. Mesmerism

Dead Can Dance — Spleen and Ideal

This is the song playing in the record store when Sam and David are browsing the stacks. It’s a hopeful song, and a personal favorite. It’s a song that speaks to that smallest, unreachable part of you—the vulnerable you, the you you protect at all costs. It makes you feel as if you really could belong to this world after all.

9. Ocean Rain

Echo And The Bunnymen — Ocean Rain

Sam loves Echo and the Bunnymen. At one time, there was a long scene early in the book, pages and pages long, where Sam introduces David to bands he’d never heard of before. This was one of those bands. That scene eventually got pared down and pared down in the long, painful revision process. Including this song is my way of including an outtake from the novel.

10. All’armi…all’armi… la campana sona

Otello Profazio — Storie e leggende del sud

As the Allies invade Sicily during World War II, this is the folk song a young Sicilian man plays over and over again much to the annoyance of another older gentleman. It’s a comedic scene that plays in the background of a much more dire moment to lighten the mood a little, but the song tells the story of an invasion so it’s also a reminder for the characters to remain vigilant against the dangers of this life.

11. Sigh’s Smell of Farewell

Cocteau Twins — Love’s Easy Tears EP

A soothing song, a balm for having to say goodbye to characters I’ve lived with for longer than the ten years it took me to write about their lives in this novel. I’ve always loved this song from the Cocteau Twins and now, I can’t help but love it even more.

12. Spirit

The Waterboys — This is the Sea (Deluxe Version)

A song about survival, full of hope and redemption and an earnest yearning for something better—the perfect song to end this playlist on.

Marco Rafalà and How Fires End links:

the author’s website

Kirkus review
New York Journal of Books review

Kirkus profile of the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 – ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 – 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 – 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film’s soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

Chris Eaton’s Playlist for His Novel "Symphony No. 3"

This post was originally published on this site
Symphony No. 3

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Chris Eaton’s Symphony No. 3 is one of the year’s finest novels, symphonic in structure and spectacular on a sentence level.

In his own words, here is Chris Eaton’s Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel Symphony No. 3:

I listen to a lot of music when I write. At the same time…literally, I suppose…I listen to very little, in that I listen to the same records, on repeat, maybe for an entire week, maybe even longer. A month? It’s a mnemonic, of sorts, something I use to get me back to the same headspace I was in when I stopped the day before, so I can maintain a prolonged tone. I don’t know that I always needed that. Maybe I don’t need it now. But in my current life with—among other things—two young children, I believe that it helps.

I entered into this novel by chance, spurred on by a video a friend sent me trying to prove Vincent Van Gogh was Jack the Ripper—using his own paintings as “proof”. As a reference in another project, I created a fake book that did something similar to the video, and chose Camille Saint-Saëns as my victim, almost at random. I just wanted to take an artist’s oeuvre and somehow use it to “prove” that they had done something else. Gradually the excerpts from this “fake book” grew longer and longer, joined by countless other fake books, until the original project began to swell out of control and I thought, you know, maybe let’s just take one of these fake books and run with it.

But not only did this outlandish idea seem more and more plausible as research continued (Saint-Saëns was living in Whitechapel at the time, while working on his third symphony that he called his Organ Symphony despite it containing very little organ; then, just before the murders stopped, he disappeared from public life to travel the world for years—the newspapers of the day are full of stories wondering where he went; his next opera, sent home from Lordknowswhere, is about another famous artist in the 1500s who actually committed several murders, went on the lam, and only came back when pardoned by the pope in exchange for some of his art), the book also became about an artist trying to capture the entire world in thirty-six minutes of music, not through a story but just the feeling…of the world…especially in a time when the symphony was supposed to be dead…because Beethoven had already done it all. At that point, the book stopped being about murders and was instead about other societal violence and anger. And I stopped trying to write a story so much as write a symphony with words, tried to write a sculpture, to write a painting, where the narrative thread is less important than using the different sounds and the no-sounds and punctuation and feelings to capture…everything–at least a proximal everything. Hopefully single phrases and sentences and passages and pages exist on their own as much as parts of the whole, and people can be moved by the brushstrokes in the lower left corner, or an out-of-place spatter of red, or the entrance of a dissonant bassoon.

I suppose one might expect that I listened to Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3 a lot while writing it. Or even a lot of classical music. But aside from at the beginning and the end, because I wanted to mirror the structure of that piece, with the most extreme tension sitting in at the organ, I listened overwhelmingly (though certainly not exclusively) to contemporary hip hop, which I might argue is the classical music of our time for the way the rhythms and samples and melodies struggle so often against each other, rather than forward in tiresome unison, and for the way emotion lives in each and every moment.

Fever Ray – “This Country”

Fever Ray’s Plunge is one of those records that stands out as one that I listened to for even longer than the others. I would finish a lot of these days so strung out that I could barely speak to my family, and caught in this echo chamber of anger, I genuinely began to despair more and more.

The process of making this playlist, which necessitates going back and re-listening, trying to locate the exact tracks I want, is really wonderful. I love all this music. But this song, as I listen and write this, feels like the time I was walking along Bloor St in Toronto outside the Paradise Theatre and it was summer so the doors were open and I recognized the beginning scene of Requiem for a Dream and all I could hear was “Be! Excited! Be! Be! EXCITED!”

Kanye – “I am a God”

Was there anyone more angry than Kanye at this moment? This was the song I imagined to be constantly playing in the mind of Camille Saint-Saens.

Blood of Abraham – “Dangerous Diseases”

I first discovered BoA when Are We Not Horses first found its legs. The director who made this video, Jonnie Ross (who is a genius), reached out to make a video for us and sent this as his portfolio. Even then this song was old, and the video never happened (we still barely had enough to tour, let alone pay for videos), but I became an instant fan of the band. They only made two records but they’re both amazing and often accompany me at my work desk.

King Cobb Steelie – “Rationale”

Another older one, from around the same time as Blood of Abraham, though now, as then, it feels separated from time. Certainly in the early-to-mid-90s, no one was doing this sort of thing. And I can still remember seeing them live for the first time, with their two percussionists and everyone arranged in a horseshoe, not around the lead singer but the bass player, who played with such frantic joy when he played that he needed the entire center stage to display it. I’m sure I have written many books to this band and feel beyond blessed that most of them have become my friends.

Jamila Woods – “Breadcrumbs”

I feel like Jamila Woods saved my life. Finishing a book is always stressful. But as this book gathered steam and the world I was trying to wedge into it became—at least seemingly, though it was likely not the world that changed so much as eyes being opened—angrier and more horrible. My grandmother died (at the amazing age of 104) and my mother sank deeper into Alzheimer’s which was hard on everyone but especially my father and we moved back to the east coast of Canada where my partner and I were both born, theoretically to be of more help, and our youngest wasn’t sleeping so I wasn’t sleeping and…well…the anger and intensity of the music I was listening to and the anger and intensity Camille Saint-Saëns’s world started to act like a feedback loop that had me chronically on edge and full of self doubt and then I discovered HEAVN. Working to HEAVN lifted me out of this partly because it’s an album of hope and love and empowerment; two lyrics still repeatedly jump to mind for me: “Woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me,” and “I may be crazy, but at least my crazy is my own.”

When we learned that she was giving her final performance of HEAVN the next weekend (before LEGACY! LEGACY! came out), my partner Laura bought us tickets spontaneously and we travelled to Chicago to see her. I’ve had a difficult time with live music since deciding to stop Rock Plaza Central, because so much of it can feel like it’s “put on”, that it’s just a show and not a shared experience of creation between performer and audience. I’ve seen behind the curtain, so to speak, and couldn’t unsee that. This show was not like that. It was magic and real and special and life-changing for me (when, as she does in “Breadcrumbs”, she sang “today I look like somebody you used to know / tomorrow I’m a stranger and I’d better go”, I broke down crying and was supported only by the crowd) and has brought me back to appreciating live music again. From the super-polished big bands to the rougher indie bands that come to our town’s music festival Sappyfest to the local cover bands that play our Fall Fair.

If you don’t already own this album, you really should.

Noname – “Forever”
Rapsody – “Crown”
Sampa the Great – “Final Form”
Jean Grae – “Shadows Forever”

Was it writing about such horrible egotistical men that made me find solace in the music of women? J.Woods stands out because of the concert and the sheer number of times I listened to that record, but these other four artists will always live in my heart as good friends who helped me through hard times. More great music to feel better about when you feel like you’re only one person, particularly with lines like:

“Whatever you dream you can do.” – Rapsody
“Fuck it, I’m gonna live forever.” – Noname

The Sampa song wasn’t actually out when I wrote the novel. It’s from her new album that came out last month. But I listen to it so often these days and both Mixtape and Birds and the BEE9 definitely added to the creation of the novel.

Noname recently started a book club (www.nonamebooks.com) and while I know I can’t be included in it, I’m enjoying being a reader in it and still hope one day I can create something as important as these works and that one will encounter her and it will bring her some fraction of the joy her life and music have brought me.

Swetshop Boys – “Need Moor” and “Birding”

Have always been a fan of Das Racist and have followed Heems ever since. This partnership with Riz Ahmed is angry and funny and pertinent and danceable all at the same time. I wanted to include “Need Moor” for its attack on consumerism, one of the great violences of our time, but couldn’t resist adding “Birding” as well, as birdwatching was one of Saint- Saëns’s many obsessions.

The Parlor – “In” (from Kiku)

The Parlor are one of my favourite bands of all time, have provided the soundtrack to so many parts of my recent life, and have never disappointed with any of their records (including three under a different name: We Are Jeneric). But the sorrow in their latest album Kiku, which documents their grief in trying to have a child, is so breathtakingly beautiful that it faultlessly carried me through a lot of the second half of this book, which deals with similar themes.

Prince – 17 Days (from Piano and a Microphone 1983)

Many important people died while writing this book. Each was a blow. Everything he did was symphonic, but I think it’s this album of stripped down piano where his genius really shines through.

Chris Eaton and Symphony No. 3 links:

the author’s Wikipedia entry

Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Chris Eaton: A Biography
Literary Hub review
Quill & Quire review
Vol. 1 Brooklyn review

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 – ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 – 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 – 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film’s soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

Timothy J. Hillegonds’ Playlist for His Memoir "The Distance Between"

This post was originally published on this site
The Distance Between

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Timothy J. Hillegonds’ The Distance Between is a compelling memoir.

Hypertext Magazine wrote of the book:

“In his memoir, The Distance Between (Nebraska, 2019), Timothy Hillegonds trains his unflinching gaze on addiction, white male privilege, toxic masculinity, and failed relationships. Hillegonds doesn’t try to win the reader over with excuses for past behavior but instead finds the language to excavate then examine his actions with ruthless precision. Instead of allowing himself to become symbolic of any one vice, Hillegonds captures the struggle—in all its grief and beauty—of reckoning with a difficult past.”

In his own words, here is Timothy J. Hillegonds’ Book Notes music playlist for his memoir The Distance Between:

The Distance Between takes place primarily in the 90s, the decade I grew from twelve to twenty-two, the decade that music, as it does for everyone, began to shape and mold and narrate my life. The music I had listened to in the early 90s, mostly skater rock and punk—311, Sublime, The Offspring—had transitioned to hip hop, and I was obsessed with Chicago rappers like Twista, Do or Die, and Crucial Conflict, and with the way the late Johnny P’s voice seemed to drift and float like weed smoke above the city.

In the time right before I moved to Colorado, before my legal troubles began eclipsing everything else in my life, I rode around in a beat-up 1985 Chevy Chevette, smoking Marlboro Lights, listening to all the hip hop I could get my hands on. I had bought the car for cheap from my stepfather, and it had only an AM radio, so I installed a Kenwood receiver and a pair of Pioneer speakers, and I remember endless loops of Tupac mixed in with The Fugees (The Score), 8 Ball and MJG (Space Age Pimpin’), and a little-known Long Beach duo called The Mexakinz.

When I think back on that time, which I admit I often do, these are the songs I think of most, and the ones that make up the soundtrack to the book.

1. “For What It’s Worth”: Buffalo Springfield

Every skate show we put on opened with this song. It was a way for us to warm up, to get loose, to lean into the energy of the crowd. Even today—and it’s been close to twenty-five years—I can’t hear this song without thinking of skating, and without feeling a little tinge of loss, of absence, of longing for the days when the only obstacle that really mattered was gravity.

2. “Come Out and Play”: The Offspring

Though I can’t be absolutely certain, “Come Out and Play” was the second song on our skate-show soundtrack, and it usually crackled out of a portable sound system filled with distortion. By the time the song came on, we were through our set of smaller tricks and working our way up to the crowd-pleasers: launching over a car while pulling a stalled-out one-eighty and landing backwards; front flipping over a group of people smiling while looking skyward; pulling long, laid-out backflips that always made it feel like time had stopped.

3. “Hay”: Crucial Conflict

You couldn’t live anywhere near Chicago in the late 90s without hearing this song. It was a Chicago anthem, and during the time it was popular, my friends and I threw a series of gigantic parties at an old barn in the far south suburbs. The parties often brought more than a hundred people—from all different high schools and all different neighborhoods—and when this song came on it was always pandemonium: because we were in an actual barn, because we were young and drunk and high, because we were smoking blunts and bowls and bongs until a thick cloud of smoke hung like atmosphere near the hayloft.

4. “Po Pimp”: Do or Die

When I left Chicago to move to Colorado, I brought a bunch of CDs with me, including Do or Die’s Picture This, which is still one of my all-time favorite albums. Whenever I played the song “Po Pimp” in Colorado, no matter what was happening, no matter how crazy it was, it was like listening to a little bit of home.

5. “I Ain’t Mad At Cha”: 2Pac

When I first heard this track, I was immediately obsessed with it, and I think it may have been the song I played most in the late-90s. There was something about the way Tupac’s voice laid on top of the piano, something about the way the beat hit right before he went in for that first verse that activated something inside me that’s never really turned off. I still listen to it regularly at the gym, or while hitting the heavy bag in the garage, and Tupac’s voice never fails to make me feel like it always has: alive.

6. “Hail Mary” 2Pac

As a nineteen-year old kid who was angry and wandering, and often scared even though I would never admit it, there was no song that made me feel tougher and wilder than this one. As a white kid from a suburb of Chicago, it’s not lost on me (now, at least) that I have almost nothing in common with Tupac and the struggle this song was born from. But I suppose that’s the magic of music: that Tupac could write this song, and then I could hear it, and it could galvanize a part of me in a way that nothing else could.

7. “Only You”: 112 featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Mase

This song came out either right before or right after I moved to Colorado, and it always reminds me of the drives April and I took from Summit County to Denver, traveling east on I-70 with mountains on both sides of us, impossibly fresh air rushing in the window, Maddie strapped in her car seat in the back. 112’s sound on the track is pure silk, which I know can be said for a lot of their songs, but when their voices mix in with the beat it has a way of lulling me into a place where everything that’s going on in my life feels a little less urgent. Biggie’s opening verse is also one my favorites. And who doesn’t love Mase’s bars on this track?

8. “In My Lifetime”: Jay Z

In the book, this is the song that’s playing when I’m at a party with April, feeling insecure and angry, acting ignorantly, getting ready to throw hands for the first time. My adrenaline is flowing, and the song is background noise that everyone is absentmindedly nodding their heads to, but it’s also a sort of fuel, a mainlined swagger that everyone can feel, whether they know it or not. The song is a classic, of course, with Jay Z’s trademark cool and timeless style, but none of us knew that back then, that it would be timeless, and none of us knew that the songs we heard in those days would stay with us for a lifetime, and that we’d carry the music with us like mannerisms, and that the songs would stay with us forever.

Timothy J. Hillegonds and The Distance Between links:

the author’s website

Hypertext interview with the author
Summit Daily News profile of the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 – ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 – 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 – 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film’s soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

David Farber’s Playlist for His Book "Crack"

This post was originally published on this site
Crack

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

David Farber’s Crack is a thoroughly researched and engaging history of the crack epidemic through a wide lens.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

“This thoughtful, well-researched history highlights the futility of viewing drugs as strictly a matter for law enforcement while ignoring their socioeconomic context.”

In his own words, here is David Farber’s Book Notes music playlist for his book Crack:

Like a lot writers, I have a morning warm-up routine that sets me up to put words on the page. I drink a cup of coffee and then I talk a long walk, earphones in place, and blast music loud enough to silence my internal monologue. Then I’m ready to concentrate on the people and places I’m trying to animate.

For years, on my morning walk, I listened to Joy Division, the same songs over and over. For my latest book, Crack, I knew I needed something different, something a lot less Manchester in the late 1970s and much more Queens—or the Bronx, or Compton—in the 1980s. I started listening to Hip Hop from that era. From there, I ended up with a long playlist that extended from the late 1970s through contemporary times, keyed to the themes I was writing about: deviant globalization, the underground economy, inner-city life at the tail end of the 20th century, drug addiction, and racial injustice in America. The music I was listening to felt so integral to the book that I told my publisher that I wanted to start the text with a playlist—“Music to Read By.” So when you open up Crack, right after the table of contents, you’ll find a list of 20 tracks that take you, in order, through the book.

Here are some of the key works:

Immortal Technique, “Peruvian Cocaine” (2003)

Crack starts with a chapter accounting for the rise of the powder cocaine trade, from legal commodity to illicit and lucrative street drug. Immortal Technique, the Peruvian-American artist, explains lyrically the cruel international business that brings cocaine from South America to America’s streets.

Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” (1983)

A lot of early Hip Hop artists expressed all kinds of ambivalence about the “white powder” that would be, by the mid-1980s, cooked up into crack. Almost everything about this track suggests the opposite of what the title states.

N.W.A., “Dopeman” (1988)

Nobody expressed the anger over the racial injustice that gave brutal life to the crack game better than N.W.A. Their lyrics still shock the soul.

Public Enemy, “Night of the Living Baseheads” (1988)

It’s easy to find Hip Hop lyrics that glorify Crack kingpins and the “flossing” that went with a successful corner operation. This is not that: “Shame on a brother when he dealin’.”

UGK, “Pocketful of Stones” (1992)

Pimp and Bun rapped as hard as anyone in glorifying the get money culture of the crack scene. It was hard to resist falling into their slow rolling, sly cadences when writing about the crack crews that ruled urban neighborhoods in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Notorious B.I.G., “Ten Crack Commandments” (1997)

Because, of course, this one has to be on the list: Biggie’s sensible plan for selling crack cocaine speaks to one of my major points about the young black men who dominated the street distribution of “rock.” They wanted, like a lot of Americans in the predatory capitalist “Reagan era,” to find a business that would make them rich, the consequences for anyone else be damned.

Bone Thugs and Harmony, “Foe tha Love of $” (1994)

Recorded in 1994 and released in early 1995, just as crack began to lose its broad customer base, the track featuring Eazy-E, an erstwhile drug dealer, helped put the gangsta in gangsta rap: “Standin’ on the corner straight slangin’ rocks/Aw shit! Here comes the muthafuckin’ cops!”

Nas, “Represent” (1994)

In CRACK, I’ve got a chapter titled, “Crack Money: Manhood in the Age of Greed,” that situates the crack trade in the cultural terrain of late 20th century inner-city life. The illustrious Nas paints that world with legendary aplomb in this track from the killer album, Illmatic.

Ka, “Up Against Goliath” (2012)

I start CRACK with an epigraph taken (with permission) from this track: “Up against Goliath to bring butter home/I’m David on pavement, sling another stone.” Not as well known as most of the other artists on this list, the Brownsville, Brooklyn born and bred Ka is a lyrical genius. This track is a heart breaker, spelling out the devastation the crack epidemic left in its wake. In the book’s last chapter, I rely on this organic intellectual of the black inner-city community to help make sense of the crack era.

Killer Mike, “Reagan” (2012)

Racism—structural, institutional, and personal—undergirds how authorities at all levels of government responded to the onslaught of crack cocaine in poor, predominately African American neighborhoods in the 1980s and 1990s. The gross injustice that put black crack dealers in prison for a five year mandatory minimum sentence for selling five grams of rock, while mostly white powder cocaine dealers had to be caught selling one hundred times as much product to receive the same five years, is just the tip of the racist iceberg that resulted in what Michelle Alexander has called “The New Jim Crow.” Killer Mike lays out this racial injustice—a roadmap to the story of crack in America–in his anti-Reagan diatribe.

David Farber and Crack links:

Publishers Weekly review

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 – ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 – 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 – 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film’s soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

Veronica Raimo’s Playlist for Her Novel "The Girl at the Door"

This post was originally published on this site
The Girl at the Door

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

The Girl at the Door, Veronica Raimo’s first novel translated into English, is a moving and important book.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

“[A] fanged, elliptical tale… The novel deals in shifting sentiments: between love, revulsion, and desire… A writer of wry and lucid prose, Raimo sculpts from these ambiguities a crystalline, powerful novel.”

In her own words, here is Veronica Raimo’s Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel The Girl at the Door:

Every time I start writing a new book, or when I am finishing it, or when I am stuck for whatever reason (so basically in any crucial part of my writing process)—I need to go somewhere else to write, somewhere else which is not home. I am not talking about an exotic place or some kind of buen retiro; what I need is a place that could be my apartment but is not. That’s why I am constantly keeping a close eye on my friends. I check if they are leaving, so I can temporarily move into their place. I’ve become a professional squatter. Since my friends in Berlin tend to travel more than my friends in Rome, I’ve written most of my books in Berlin.

Islaja – Shit Hit The Fan

One of the apartments where I wrote The Girl at the Door is Merja (Islaja)’s place. The light was beautiful, the windows were very high, and I had the best bed I’ve ever had in my life. Actually, the bed was so comfortable, and I spent so much time laying on it and collecting thoughts for the novel, that it almost felt like I was sick. That kind of peaceful sickness you have when you are a child and you don’t want to get up and go to school. That’s why the first track of this playlist is dedicated to Islaja.

Liima – Life is Dangerous

Another apartment in Berlin where I stayed to finish my novel was at Mads’s place (Mads from Efterklang and Liima). He moved out because he split up with his girlfriend, and I was all alone in this huge and totally empty apartment. There was just a bed, a desk, and a chair left (and some bills to pay). I remember one night when Mads and Casper (the band’s singer) made me listen to their new album, shortly before the release. Since there were no sofas, we laid on the floor, half stoned, and I immediately fell in love with “Life is dangerous,” which I asked them to play on a loop forever.

Efterklang – Hollow Mountain

But actually there are two more reasons why The Girl at the Door is connected to Liima and Efterklang. The first one is that I spent a whole afternoon with Casper taking about the Danish concept of “hygge” which plays a strong role in my novel. And the second one is that the original title of my novel is Miden, which is where the story is set, an imaginary place which takes its name and its landscape from Pyramiden, an abandoned Russian coal-mining settlement in the Norwegian Svalbard, the same location which inspired Efterklang’s album “Piramida.”

Smog – You Moved In

I worked as a journalist for Rolling Stone Italia, and my very first interview, many years ago, was with Bill Callahan, when he was still Smog. The interview was never published because the magazine thought he was not relevant enough at that time, and maybe it was better like this, because my questions were so long and pretentious he barely answered (“Hm…”, “Yes…”, “No…”, “Dunno…”, Maybe…”). But as I writer, my inner desire is to have Callahan’s ability to create images and brilliant verses.

Cat Power – What Would The Community Think

My first real interview then was with Chan Marshall, alias Cat Power, and fortunately she talks a lot. The interview lasted hours, we kept on talking and smoking cigarettes sitting outside a concert hall (not a smart move for me when I had to transcribe what she said …). It’s still one of my fondest memories. I love her, and I love her music, and, actually, when my publisher and I were discussing a title for my novel in the States, I wanted to steal Cat Power’s beautiful title, “What Would The Community Think”.

Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

While in Berlin, I attended to a festival organized by Bon Iver and The National, even if they said it was “neither a festival or a concert or an event to visit.” They said it “was a communal experience”. And it was. But all the emphasis on sharing a communal experience, with an audience that was supposed to be called just “people,” felt a bit paradoxical, because all those “people” looked the same, like we were a sort of Bon Iver/The National cute army. At the end of my novel, there is a scene which is clearly inspired by that.

Father John Misty – Nancy From Now On

When I interviewed Father John Misty, he was slightly seductive talking passionately about how deep in love he was with his wife. I guess this kind of studied ambivalence is part of his poetics, and the video of this song inspired one of the crucial scenes of my novel—not in its narrative, but in its tension.

Peter Broderick – And it’s Alright

If I have to imagine a kind of music the people living in Miden would listen to, I’d say Peter Broderick’s, or all the things released by Erased Tapes. There is a scene in a wood in the novel; I think this song could be the right soundtrack.

Heroin in Tahiti – Black Market

And if I have to imagine a kind of music people living in Miden would never listen to, it would be Heroin in Tahiti. But I listen to them, and I think their music is the right dose of “Sun and Violence” (the album’s title) to prescribe against the cold ideology of Miden’s society.

Lucio Battisti – Macchina del tempo

One of the most powerful songs about the sense of loss. In my novel this is a central theme: what does it mean to lose something? And how can a sense of belonging become just a form of oppression? Maybe it’s just my interpretation, but that’s why I feel very connected to this song and—in its complexity and dissonance—I recognize a fertile form of anxiety very dear to me.

Iosonouncane – Stormi

Iosonouncane is not so related to the novel itself, but I listened to his album so many times while I was writing it, and he is the most interesting Italian artist in recent memory—so I am happy to have him at the end of this playlist.

Veronica Raimo and The Girl at the Door links:

Evening Standard review
Kirkus review
New York Observer review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 – ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 – 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 – 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film’s soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week – October 3, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

In the weekly Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week, the Montreal bookstore recommends several new works of fiction, art books, periodicals, and comics.

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is one of Montreal’s premiere independent bookstores.

Qualification

Qualification by David Heatley

In this graphic memoir, drawn in a simple, seemingly comic, but unflinchingly dark and honest style, David Heatley recounts his often-troubled life with religion, family trauma, porn, and substance abuse. Heatley deals with his problems by enrolling in one 12-step program after another before realizing that, in fact, he had become an addict of addiction-recovery groups themselves. Praised by none other than R. Crumb, Qualification is Heatley’s finest work to date (which is saying something, given that he’s a three-time vet of the Best American Comics anthology).

Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Notes to Self

Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Notes to Self by Liana Finck

Liana Finck is a regular New Yorker cartoonist whose 2018 graphic memoir, Passing For Human, won rave reviews. Her latest book is a collection of one-panel vignettes (culled from Instagram and the pages of the New Yorker and other publications) that are hilarious, beautiful, touching, sad, wise, and furious in turn. On topics ranging from love and gender politics to time and art, Finck is the perfect laugh-while-you-cry cartoonist. Great bathroom reading for intellectuals.

The Topeka School

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner

The much-anticipated follow-up to Lerner’s acclaimed Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, The Topeka School completes an unofficial, autofictional trilogy about masculinity, language, and politics. Returning to his debut novel’s Adam Gordon character (a thinly-veiled avatar for Lerner himself), The Topeka School follows its teenage protagonist through an adolescence of debate competitions (Lerner himself was a national champion in high school), suspended between his sensitive, educated left-wing parents–both psychologists at a prestigious foundation–and the Tupac-loving, binge-drinking white Kansan youths that compose his peer group. In the book’s mid-90s milieu, Lerner sketches a prehistory of today’s crisis of toxic masculinity and corruption of political language.

Frankisstein

Frankisstein by Jeanette Winterson

In this audacious, risk-taking novel, prolific British author Jeanette Winterson asks a range of speculative questions about the future of love, sex, intelligence, and death in a highly original reinterpretation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Set in an alternate near-future Britain riven by Brexit, a young transgender doctor falls in love with a celebrated professor of AI; their stories intersect with that of a down-on-his-luck divorcée about to make a fortune launching a new line of sex dolls; meanwhile, in the American southwest, a cryonics facility is succeeding in returning the legally and medically dead to life. Among these wild conjectures, Winterson asks: what is life?

Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming

Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai

The latest novel from the infamously reclusive “Hungarian master of the apocalypse” Krasznahorkai (winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize) is set in the present day and concerns a Hungarian emigre who returns to his provincial village to reunite with his childhood sweetheart after escaping gambling debts in South America. It’s a portrait of the absurdity of small-town life, rife with gossip, con men, and petty politicians, all presided over by the Professor, a hermit-like figure whose long rants occupy much of the book. Of course, Krasznahorkai’s characteristically challenging prose, filled with long, meandering sentences and permeated with existential gloom, make a straightforward description of plot somewhat beside the point: he is a purveyor of mystery, transcendence, and even (occasionally) of a kind of cosmic comedy. Get on his level.

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