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February 14, 2008

Book Notes - Grant Bailie ("Mortarville")

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

Absurdly clever and wickedly charming, Grant Bailie's second novel Mortarville is filled with humor and social satire, and one of the most creative books I read last year.

Of the book, the Cleveland Free Times wrote:

"Mortarville is part science fiction, part magical realism and part literary fiction. The writing is subtle and evocative. The story calls to mind Burgess's A Clockwork Orange on one page and Dickens' David Copperfield on the next."

In his own words, here is Grant Bailie's Book Notes essay for his novel, Mortarville:

It occurs to me, after several false starts on this essay, that the genesis of my second novel, Mortarville, lies in just one song. In the false starts, I include that song, but also add several others I like (by Magma, T-Model Ford, King Missile, Jad Fair, Atomic Rooster, John Coltrane and much, much more!) I thought these songs would make a nice compilation, but what was I really doing? Was I some pseudo-John Hughes or Cameron Crowe shoving as many marginally applicable tunes into the imaginary soundtrack for an imaginary movie made from my (very real) book? Or was I trying to impress you (dear, kind, handsome, pretty reader) as if you were a cool girl in a white car stopped at an intersection on a warm spring day. Your windows are down. I am driving my own car. It has a little rust around the wheel wells but a CD is playing, and the volume turned up loud enough for you to be impressed by my good taste.

But you are not a girl stopped at a light (or if you are, please pay more attention to driving; these words will be here waiting for you when you make your way safely home). And anyway, I am married; who am I trying to impress?

So let me just say that the one song that I can mention with complete honesty as being essential to the creation of Mortarville is Daniel Johnston's "I Killed the Monster." In fact, "I Killed the Monster" was the original title of the book, when it was just a few paragraphs and notes. Some of the paragraphs might still exist in the book. Most of the notes were ignored or forgotten, but somewhere, embedded deeply in the DNA of the book, is that song, sitting quietly in the shadows, waiting to be played. Maybe it could be played over the end credits.

Grant Bailie and Mortarville links:

the author's MySpace page
the author's blog
the book's page at the publisher

Cleveland Free Times review
Edmonton Journal review
Everyday Yeah review

"Camelot" short fiction by the author at Strong Fiction
"A Company Function" short fiction by the author at SmokeLong Quarterly

SmokeLong Quarterly interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)

Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
directors and actors discuss their film's soundtracks
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2008 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2007 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)


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