Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘lit and music’

Shop Talk |

A writer walks into a bar …

There are few venues where a fiction reader might witness Steve Almond read student evaluations of his teaching (youth can be so cruel), Samantha Hunt perform a poem – backwards, or Ben Greenman‘s utter faith in humanity as he recites his credit card and pin numbers aloud to a packed bar. In fact, the only place I can think of off the top of my head is the Happy Ending Music & Reading Series. Started in 2003 by Amanda Stern, the series brings together emerging and established writers to read and take an onstage risk of the kind mentioned above, […]

Shop Talk |

Glass Wave: Lit-Inspired Music

Ever wonder what happens when literary professors make music? Glass Wave is what happens. Composed of four literary scholars—Thomas Harrison of UCLA and Robert Pogue Harrison, Dan Edelstein, and Christy Wampole of Stanford—plus drummer Colin Camarillo, Glass Wave has just released its first, self-titled album, with songs based on canonical Western literature. Inside Higher Ed profiles the band and the album: The 11-track album adapts themes and narratives from Homer, Ovid, Shakespeare, Herman Melville, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and Vladimir Nabokov, and sets them to musical compositions, generally in the vein of 1960s and ’70s progressive rock typified by […]

Shop Talk |

Reviewlet: An Unfinished Score by Elise Blackwell

An Unfinished Score by Elise Blackwell Unbridled Books, April 2010 256 pp Concert violist Suzanne Sullivan is preparing dinner when she hears on the radio that her long-term lover Alex—a well-known conductor—has perished in a plane crash. Living with her husband (a composer), her best friend Pertra (a concert violinist) and Petra’s deaf daughter Adele, Suzanne is forced to grieve in secret. With one foot in a dysfunctional marriage and one hand in the rearing of a child not her own, she comes to realize that it was during her stolen moments with Alex that she felt most whole. But […]

Reviews |

When Autumn Leaves, by Amy S. Foster

Award-winning lyricist, Amy S. Foster–who has written songs for musicians such as Diana Krall, Michael Buble, and Andrea Bocelli–makes an eloquent transition from songwriter to novelist in her debut novel, When Autumn Leaves. Like a well-written song, the novel evokes a powerful atmosphere. Foster’s vivid descriptions bring the charming town of Avening, a magical haven in the Pacific Northwest, to life. And the story captures our attention from the first note, when we meet the title character. Autumn is a member of the Jaen, “an ancient order of women who dedicate their lives to the service of others.” For years, she has guided the people of Avening, a town whose steady undercurrent of magic has attracted a unique citizenry. In the novel’s first chapter, Autumn learns she is being reassigned. She must leave Avening–but before doing so, she must choose her successor.

Shop Talk |

Largehearted Lit, with Marie Mutsuki Mockett and Emma Straub

NYC-based writers: on Sunday, December 6 at 5 PM, gather for a free and awesome Largehearted Lit event at the Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn). We at FWR are big fans of (and frequent linkers to) David Gutowski’s, a music-lit-culture website whose Book Notes column gives established and emerging authors the chance to create and discuss music playlists connected to–or inspired by–their books. Now a new Largehearted Lit series, curated by Brooklyn-based fiction author Jami Attenberg (Instant Love, The Kept Man, The Melting Season), actualizes these playlist interviews into live readings with musical performances. In this interview, David […]

Interviews |

Getting the South Right: A Conversation with Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi. Her first novel, Where the Line Bleeds (Agate, Nov. 2008), is about twin brothers navigating life after high school in a small Gulf Coast town. Where the Line Bleeds is an Essence Book Club Selection, a 2009 Honor Award recipient from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and a nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Jesmyn Ward’s essays and fiction have been published in Oxford American, A Public Space, and Bomb magazines. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, and she is currently entering her second year as a Stegner Fellow at Stanford.

Nico Berry spoke to the author by phone as she soaked up the summer heat back home in DeLisle, Mississippi.

Reviews |

The Song is You, by Arthur Phillips

The Song is You, by Arthur Phillips, is a book about music and love – the grand, sweeping stuff. So you might be surprised at how controlled the writing is. Not that I was expecting the book to play a cloying tune when I opened it, like one of those oversized Hallmark cards, but I did somehow expect it to be more… well, musical. The 2006 movie Once is an example – one I thought of often while reading this – of how music can surge viscerally through a love story and vice versa, though of course a film has certain advantages in evoking song that a book does not.