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March 22, 2013

Book Notes - Roy Kesey "Any Deadly Thing"

Any Deadly Thing

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, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Roy Kesey's new short story collection Any Deadly Thingspans the world in its settings and always impresses with its spare prose and intriguing, broken characters.

Elizabeth Crane wrote of the book:

"Perfect, masterful portraits of an international cross-section of wise, broken souls--hopeful, brutal, funny as hell, and heart-crushing, every last one.""

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 Roy Kesey's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection, Any Deadly Thing:

1. "Any Deadly Thing" = "Can't Nobody Hide from God"

A beautiful blues hymn first recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in 1930. Here is Johnson singing backup to his first wife, Willie B. Harris:

2. "Bloodwood" = "Ven, devórame otra vez"

Believe me when I say that on the streets of Iquitos, you are no less likely to hear this Lalo Rodríguez hit (composed by Dominican songwriter Palmer Hernández) than you are to hear any other song about being eaten.

3. "Double Fish" = "Returning After Target Practice"

Listening to this 1960's classic by Jia Shijun is one of the ways Shen keeps herself from forgetting how it was.

4. "Cochlear" = "With Or Without You"

This monster hit by U2 would have come on the radio fairly often during Stuart's many, many drives up and down Highway 101, and every single time he would have wanted to turn it off, but he never would have been able to, not once.

5. "How Things End" = Piano Sonata #2

Chopin's, that is, and preferably played big and brassy—more Horowitz than Rubinstein, let us say.

6. "Asunción" = "Freeze"

When you click on the link below and hear the first few bars of this Klaus Schulze piece, you'll recognize it, but you might not be able to place it right away. Unless you Google it, of course. But who would do that?

7. "Wall" = "Luna de Xelajú"

This waltz, composed by Paco Pérez and played here by the Metropolitana Millennium Orchestra under the direction of Dieter Lehnhoff, is one of the foundation stones of the album Valses inolvidables de Guatemala, which is the exact album Ernie would have played on his drive to the Great Wall with Lauren if he could have found it in China on CD, which he couldn't, so he probably played Foo Fighters or something instead.

8. "Levee" = "When The Levee Breaks"

Yep, Zep, and kind of a gimme, but not for any of the reasons you're thinking of, unless you've already read the story.

9. "Today/Tomorrow" = "Les Hommes Qui Passent"

You can make anything better with a little flamenco, as Patricia Kaas shows in this live version of a song off her second album.

10. "Probably Somewhere" = "I Want to Know What Love Is"

This Foreigner tune is just one of the several songs to which Joan and Marie slow-danced at Joan's bar over in Cobb.

11. "Body Asking Shadow" = a cricket

No song as such for this one, just sixteen seconds of guoguo.

12. "Learning to Count in a Small Town" = "Sledgehammer"

This Peter Gabriel song is the one playing unmentioned in the background in the story's final paragraph, probably.

13. "Gorget" = "El Zorro Negro"

One of many northern huaynos that Shaddick might have heard in the meat markets of Cajamarca, this one was written by Indio Mayta and is performed here by Duo Shiripano:

14. "Scree" = a muyu

The muyu shows up in various forms of Chinese opera that aren't too hard to find, but here's a monk soloing, which is a bit less common, at least according to the scholars at YouTube.

15. "Stillness" = "Unfinished Business"

Because that's what this story, and also every other story ever written, is about. And because Garrett and I both happen to have a crush on Gillian Welch. If memory serves, I discovered the Revival demos right here on this very Largehearted website.

16. "Nipparpoq" = Inuit throat singing

Our narrator's past the point of music, but he can still remember. The kind of thing that will surge up if he's out on the ice long enough:

17. "Stump" = "Free Fallin'"

The one Tom Petty song that Donny would sing along to loudly, whether or not he knew all the words.

Roy Kesey and Any Deadly Thing links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book (the title story at Recommended Reading)

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for All Over
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Pacazo
Necessary Fiction interview with the author

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
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