August 6, 2009
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Jessica Shattuck's second novel, Perfect Life, propels its four diverse main characters through bizarre situations with humor, satire, and the discerning prose that drew critical acclaim for the author's debut novel, The Hazards of Good Breeding.
Lately, when I have been asked for book group titles, Perfect Life is the first title that I recommend.
Entertainment Weekly wrote of the book:
"The four main characters are pulled together and spun apart by various dramas (sperm-donor babies, corporate espionage) that could come off as soap-opera-ish in lesser hands, but Perfect is too nuanced to slide into broad archetypes or easy resolutions. With her elegant prose, Shattuck manages to make her characters' stories feel both engrossing and utterly real."
I don't listen to music while I write but here is some of what I was listening to during the year and a half I spent writing this book. With a few perennial favorites that have specific relevance to Perfect Life in my mind…
"While You Were Sleeping," Elvis Perkins
I discovered this song while writing Perfect Life, and could listen to it over and over again, and did.
"Changing Colours," The Great Lake Swimmers
Is this song about dying? I think so.
"Valentine's Day," Bruce Springsteen
"Wuthering Heights," Kate Bush
This song is so easy to make fun of, but also so great.
"The Opposite of Hallelujah," Jens Lekman
"Oxford Comma," Vampire Weekend
"Sound and Vision," David Bowie
This is just one of my favorite songs and belongs at some point in any love story.
"Gypsy," Susan Vega
Actually, I didn't listen to this because I have no idea what happened to the tape I bought of this in – 1987?-- but the words "arranger of disorder" kept popping into my mind while I was writing about Neil.
"Landslide," Fleetwood Mac
Leibeslied and Leibesfreud, Fritz Kreisler
Jessica Shattuck and Perfect Life links:
also at Largehearted Boy:
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