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February 16, 2010

Book Notes - Paul Tremblay ("No Sleep till Wonderland")

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

Paul Tremblay's new novel No Sleep till Wonderland is the second book featuring his narcoleptic detective Mark Genevich. Filled with dark humor and the riveting suspense of his ever on the edge protagonist, this book is even more satisfying than its predecessor The Little Sleep (which I also adored). Tremblay is a modern master of noir fiction, a bold and fiercely original writer.

Mark Haskell Smith wrote of the book:

"Paul Tremblay somehow manages to channel Franz Kafka, write like Raymond Chandler, and whip up a completely original, utterly whack-a-doodle reinvention of the detective novel."

In his own words, here is Paul Tremblay's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, No Sleep till Wonderland:


"When he realized that this one was here to stay / He took down all the mirrors in the hallway / And thought only of his younger face."—Uncle Tupelo, "Black Eye"

"Say you will, say you will, put all the random pieces together."—Superchunk, "Screw it Up"

No Sleep till Wonderland is the follow-up to The Little Sleep, both books feature my narcoleptic PI Mark Genevich. Thematically the first novel was about the malleability of Mark's reality (his dreams and hallucinations continually intruding) and his past. The dreamscape is still an important part of No Sleep till Wonderland, but the novel is more rooted in reality and focuses on his present, on his daily struggle against his disease and for independence, and it focuses on what's missing from his life, namely companionship. The novel opens with Mark in group therapy (forced upon him by his landlord mother), where he meets a charismatic and slick stranger named Gus. Mark goes on a two-day bender with Gus and crime-fire-dream sex-real sex-dream leviathans-doodles in notebooks-rubber bands-Soylent Green-Wonderland chaos ensues.

Songs referenced in the text of No Sleep till Wonderland (some obliquely, other's not so obliquely)

The Beastie Boys, "No Sleep till Brooklyn"
Crazy World of Arthur Brown, "Fire"
The Smithereens, "Cigarette"
The Blues Image, "Ride Captain Ride on Your Mystery Ship"
Clutch, "Animal Farm"

Soundtrack for the novel:

These songs and their lyric snippets follow and describe the story. No really, they do!

Future of the Left, "The House that Hope Built"

"Come join, come join our hopeless cause / Come join, come join our lost cause."

The Eels, "Prizefighter"

"yeah I've been through a lot and you can't scare me."

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Heads Will Roll"

"Looking glass / take the past / shut your eyes / you realize"

Iggy Pop, "The Passenger"

"I see the bright and hollow sky / over the City's ripped backsides"

Nina Nastasia, "Stormy Weather"

"She comes running in/ ‘We're all on fire' / she says so hysterically"

The Pixies, "Where is My Mind?"

"Your head will collapse / if there's nothing in it."

man or astroman?, "9Volt"

"Don't touch me again with your 9-volt tongue."

Neutral Milk Hotel, "Two-headed Boy"

"I will take you and leave you alone."

Sugar, "JC Auto"

"I can't believe in anything / I don't believe in anything / Do you believe in anything? /Do you believe me now?"

Bottomless Pit, "Dogtag"

"I saw the connection there / on the way down"

Jawbox, "Savory"

"you'll protest your complicity"

Bad Brains, "Sailin' On"

"Too many years with too many tears / And too many days with none to say"

Paul Tremblay and No Sleep till Wonderland links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
the book's blog

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine review
The Drowning Machine review
Publishers Weekly review
The Velvet review

HTMLGIANT interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes music playlist by the author for The Little Sleep

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)

52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (highlights of the week's comics & graphic novel releases)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (highlights of the week's book releases)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists

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