Twitter Facebook Tumblr Pinterest Instagram

« older | Main Largehearted Boy Page | newer »

July 21, 2011

Book Notes - Jesse Ball ("The Village on Horseback: Prose and Verse, 2003-2008")

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

In the introduction to The Village on Horseback: Prose and Verse, 2003-2008, Jesse Ball writes that his intention was to produce "an omnibus, a small, tidy book of depths that would fit in a pocket, yet occupy a traveler for several train rides," and this volume serves that purpose well. This collection of novellas, short fiction, and poetry is strikingly original, often surprising, and yet another example of why I consider Jesse Ball one of America's finest young writers.

I have praised Ball's writing on many occasions, and cannot recommend this collection enough (along with his novels Samadi the Deafness, The Way Through Doors, and The Curfew).

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Ball's superb new volume is strange, haunting, and wise, but hard to characterize: it's an omnibus of new short works and a compendious introduction to an imaginary preindustrial land, with its own folkways, myths, and codes of honor, in two great novellas, one wise long poem....and a brace of thoughtful, harsh flash fiction."

In his own words, here is Jesse Ball's Book Notes music playlist for his book, The Village on Horseback: Prose and Verse, 2003-2008:

The Village on Horseback is an omnibus. It contains six volumes. Two are volumes of poetry. Two are volumes of short-prose. Two are novellas. All were written between 2003 and 2008. Those five years took me through several countries, countless apartments, houses, rooms, etc. When I was asked to write about the music that may have accompanied this work, I thought it best to simply consider music that has obsessed me during this time. Thirteen word descriptions.

[[Brian Eno: [Apollo Atmospheres] ]]

Not human music, but we can listen to it, especially when alone far-away.

[[Black Orpheus Soundtrack (Bonfa, Jobim, etc) ]]

Tremendously anxious, dizzying sense of crowds and celebration opposed by quiet guitar harmonies.

[Maria Callas: [Casta Diva]]]

People are always forgetting old stars. Then someone reminds someone. She WAS good!

[Cat Power: [Covers Record] ]]

Guy told me CP often injured herself. These are tremendous covers, some definitive.

[[Dan Milner: [Irish Ballads and Songs of the Sea] ]]

Once, I visited his house. Magnificent ballad singer of the very best sort.

[[ [D'Gary: Malagasy Guitar] ]]

Some story: people found him in Madagascar, a virtuoso on a dimestore guitar.

[[Eric Martens: [Nineteenth Century Classics] ]]

Splendid fiddle playing for your funeral celebration, and the other days after that.

[[Ry Cooder: [Paris Texas] ]]

Here, he hints at some things he knows that other people probably don't.

[[Olof Arnalds: [Vid og Vid]]]

Fine Icelandic music with someone actually singing in Icelandic. Met her in Den-Haag.

[[Patsy Cline: [12 Greatest Hits] ]]

Everyone knows Patsy Cline! But I still have to declare: What a lady!

Jesse Ball and True Things About Me links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book ("Pieter Emily" at Guernica)

Publishers Weekly review

Believer interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Curfew
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Way Through Doors
The Millions interview with the author

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 (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists

submit to reddit