May 16, 2013
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.
Norah Labiner's new novel Let the Dark Flower Blossom is intriguing and clever. Labiner proves herself yet again a master of metafiction in this haunting and challenging book.
Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:
"Labiner, narrating in several distinct and haunting voices, proves herself a metafictional adept. She succeeds in crafting an ambitious, poignant and sharp-tongued novel filled with secrets and ghosts, jealousy and love."
Let the Dark Flower Blossom is a book about writers who do monstrous things. It's a book, sure, but metaphorically speaking: it's a box of chocolates and a long-stemmed rose to the long-suffering reader. Admit it: you've put up with a lot lately. Everyone is so damned sincere these days! How much pitch-perfect prose must you suffer? How many stark portrayals of the dystopian post-apocalyptic rapture-ready world must you endure? How many precocious child narrators are you to bear? Just how much tragedy can you take? Take a break! Close the door, cut the lights. Don't be afraid. What is there to fear? The past is an ink pen. The future is an abstraction. If the vampires do not get you, then you know the werewolves will. Let's do what we want. Let's talk about actresses we like. Let's talk about Poe, Hawthorne, and Sir Graves Ghastly. This book is my love letter to the plot twist. It's a tip of the top hat to god with a small g and to Hollywood with a capital h; it's a crie de coeur to villagers with pitchforks; a valentine to girls in white nightdresses and the boys who kill them. It's an I'll-grind-your-bones-to-make-my-bread kind of book. It isn't real. It is art! No girls were harmed in the writing of it. No gods were smashed. A few lines were stolen. Not too many graves were robbed. And all the dogs run free. It is a story about characters who like to tell stories. Any resemblance to real monsters is accidental. Any accidents are intentional. Let's talk about what we like. Let's run out the clock on history while the zombies bang at the door. We can talk about songs and movies. Let's read our fortune in the cards. We can talk about what it was like way back when we were kids. Let's ride bikes and imagine that there is a place called the future. This book has all of the things you like and none of the things you don't like. All the girls are beautiful. All the hatchets are very sharp. It takes place in an old house during a snowstorm. There is a radio playing in a dark room. If there is a late night-station taking requests and sending out dedications to characters in novels; if there were such a thing—I'd like to send these songs out to my monsters.
"Ever" - Flipper
For Pru, who lies.
"The End of the World" - Skeeter Davis
For Eloise, who tells the truth.
"Tusk" - Fleetwood Mac
For Louis, who suspects.
"California Dreamin'" - The Mamas & the Papas
For Zigouiller, who loves Eloise.
"You're the Top" - Ethel Merman
For Zola, who loves Zigouiller.
"Be My Baby" - The Ronettes
For Beatrice, who says that she is happy.
"Oh Bondage Up Yours!" - X-Ray Spex
For Inj, who dreams of being murdered.
"Losing My Edge" - LCD Soundsystem
For Ben, who knows all that there is to know.
"Underground Babylon" - Catholic Discipline
For Roman, who never finds out which one of you wrote with the greasy lipstick, "Babylon must fall," on the bathroom mirror.
"When I Paint My Masterpiece" - Bob Dylan
For Sheldon, who tells the story.
"Your Future Our Clutter" - The Fall
For Susu, who does not.
Norah Labiner and Let the Dark Flower Blossom links:
also at Largehearted Boy:
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