August 21, 2007
A couple of years ago I read Joshua Furst's short fiction collection, Short People, and was impressed by the tension he created in these stories about childhood and its traumas. Furst continues to impress with his debut novel, The Sabotage Cafe.
The first thing you should know about The Sabotage Café is that it takes place in Minneapolis. Every scene in the book is affected by the mixture of stoic endurance and landlocked despair that makes the upper Midwest such a complicated, moody place.
The next thing you should know is that the story is narrated by a woman, Julia, who came of age in the heyday of the 80s DIY punk scene. Her daughter, Cheryl, has run away. Though Julia has no means of contacting Cheryl, she uses what limited knowledge she can gather to piece together the facts of her daughter’s new life. So, though the story is in large part about Cheryl, the soundtrack is Julia’s: shambling (mostly) 80s, (mostly) Minneapolis punk with an over-representation of slow, slit-your-wrists songs.
While putting this list together, I’ve tried to build an arc that mirrors the storyline. If you were to make a mixed tape of the songs below and listen to it straight through, you’d experience the same disturbances and heartaches and killer hangovers that the book depicts.
Aching to Be – The Replacements
Hanging Downtown – The Replacements
I Don’t Care About You – Fear
Corona – The Minutemen
Bastards of Young – The Replacements
Lost in the Supermarket – The Clash
Never Talking to You Again – Hüsker Dü
Too Drunk to f*ck – The Dead Kennedys
I Apologize – Hüsker Dü
Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies
Time Bomb – Rancid
Kentucky Avenue – Tom Waits
Skyway – The Replacements
And finally, because it came out as I was in the final stages of composition and contains some uncanny thematic resemblances to the book, we hear this as the credits roll:
Your Little Hoodrat Friend – The Hold Steady
Joshua Furst and The Sabotage Cafe links:
also at Largehearted Boy:
Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2007 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)