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October 5, 2012

Book Notes - Laird Hunt "Kind One"

Kind One

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, David Peace, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Laird Hunt's novel Kind One is as powerful and dark a novel I have read all year, a book as exquisitely written as it is haunting.

Kirkus Reviews wrote of the book:

"Opening with a prologue in the form of an extraordinarily beautiful meditation on loss, Hunt’s writing deepens into allegory, symbolism and metaphor, all while spinning forth a dark tale of abuse, incest and corruption reminiscent of Faulkner . . . Profoundly imaginative, strikingly original, deeply moving."

Stream a Spotify playlist of these tunes. If you don't have Spotify yet, sign up for the free service.

In his own words, here is Laird Hunt's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, Kind One:

Note: I listened to the tracks found below so repeatedly during the composition of Kind One that they became fused in my mind with the language they had helped unearth, the situations they had helped dislodge. The brief "discussion" I offer of each track then is a quote from the text of the novel most inspired by it. With sincere thanks to their makers.

1) "Tahiti Rain Song"

La Maison de mon reve

Invocation. A woman sits down to tell a tale.

Track Description: In the evening she would tell it. In the dusk light, when the candles were lit and the fire was low, she would clear her throat. When the windows were closed and the curtains drawn and the children tucked, she would set in to speak. When we had all gathered close, when our shoulders had touched, when we had taken her hands, when we had drawn in our breath.

2) "Happening Tone"
Jan Jelinek


In the first part of Kind One, a man and his wife dig a well in rural Kentucky. The year is 1830.

Track Description: I SET A MARKER one hundred paces from the stream, gathered my tools, and began to dig. The earth was soft at first, and I worked fast and had dug the hole past my waist by midday when my wife called on me to wash and come into the house.

3) "Dark Was the Night"
Kronos Quartet

Dark Was the Night

In the second and central part of the novel, a woman living in Indiana looks down the dark tunnel of time to her years in rural Kentucky in the 1850s.

Track Description: ONCE I LIVED IN A PLACE where demons dwelled. I was one of them. I am old and I was young then, but truth is this was not so long ago, time just took the shackle it had on me and gave it a twist.

4) Spirit Parade
DM Stith

Heavy Ghost

The third part of Kind One is told from the perspective of another woman who escaped from the place where "demons dwelled," but only after years of having to live among them.

Track Description: I WAS EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD in 1861. What I walked away from one late spring morning in Kentucky I vowed never to walk toward again.

5) Happiness
Jonsi & Alex

Riceboy Sleeps

In the fourth part, in 1930, a stonecutter named Prosper, who is the nephew of the narrator of part three, goes down to Kentucky to find his mother.

Track Description: I HAVE TWO VOICES. One I use when I am at home and one I use when I am anywhere else. I sat down in the booth and used the second one. The waitress brought me a cup of coffee. When she set it down in front of me, I used the voice again and asked for a slice of pie.

6) Violate
Bones Domingo

Bones Domingo

The fifth and final part tells the story of a name that wasn’t the right name, of a love that wasn’t the right love. That existed, name and love, nonetheless.

Track Description: THERE IS A STORY goes with my name too. I was to have been called Joseph after the grand old man and be done with it. I was to have been Joseph Aloysius Wilson and that’s that. I was fresh born and on the earth and had my name. Then my father had his vision.

7) The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man
Colin Stetson

New History Warfare – Judges, Vol. 2

The afterword. Someone has seen too much and has to keep seeing, can never stop seeing.

Track Description: I went then I came back then I went then I came back again. In going I came and in coming I went. In that way I didn’t need to see an inch of my road and might as well have took out my own eyes. But here they still are—candy jellies, each afloat, each in its own glass jar.

Laird Hunt and Kind One links:

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

ForeWord Reviews review
Kirkus Reviews review
Mixer review
Publishers Weekly review
Shelf Awareness review

The Believer interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Exquisite

also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
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

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