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January 28, 2014

Book Notes - Jesse Ball "Silence Once Begun"

Silence Once Begun

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.

Jesse Ball masterfully weaves conflicting accounts of Japan's Narito Disappearances of the 1970s in Silence Once Begun, a novel wholly inventive and skillful in its execution.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Ball's spare, meditative, Rashomon-like novel, a work of exceptional control and exquisite nuance, consists of contradictory transcripts, poetic letters, a striking fable, and melancholy musings. Enigmatic black-and-white photographs add to the subtly cinematic mode. With echoes of Franz Kafka, Paul Auster, and Kobo Abe, Ball creates an elegantly chilling and provocatively metaphysical tale."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Jesse Ball's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, Silence Once Begun:

[ inna faliks beethoven piano sonatas no. 3 ]

This person is a force of nature. Once, at a performance, I was sure she was going to break the piano in half.

[ autechre move of ten ]

I went to a show of theirs in the late nineties. It was somewhere filthy. I became completely filthy. There was a wall with holes in it. People were sticking their arms and heads through the holes. The music was so loud you couldn't actually hear it anymore. It went from being a musical concert to some sort of somatosensory concert. At some point I realized it was the next day and my friends and I were standing on a wharf sticking out into the Hudson River. The sun was everywhere, covering everything! How exciting to be alive.

[ miles davis cooking with the miles davis quintet ]

I feel like I am always getting up to turn this record over. Much as I love it, I feel it could be asking me to turn it over less often.

[ springsteen nebraska ]

I think this is the best Springsteen. At this point, that must be the majority opinion. It's the kind of music a raccoon would make, if you taught it to play guitar, and left it alone at a steel mill. In any case, I have an idea about passing time on a subway or bus by pretending to be Springsteen recording Nebraska, or pretending to be Springsteen going around with the demo tape of Nebraska in his pants, or just being Springsteen humming "State Trooper" to himself. In this flight of fancy, I am definitely wearing a jean jacket.

[ caretaker patience (after sebald) ]

Jesse Stiles told me about this guy. I think it is a sort of architecture. Sebald isn't invoked in vain.

[ cate le bon me oh my ]

I found her in Dublin -- at a cafe called 3FE. A guy there played it all the time, and it made me feel overjoyed. Some of the stiffness, the bristling pride of dark sounds, that I love about the singing of Lal Waterson -- I think it's there. I would like for her to do an album of unaccompanied folk ballads.

[ duke ellington money jungle ]

I would love to have been a ghost in the wall watching them record this.

Jesse Ball and Silence Once Begun links:

the author's website

Japan Times review
Kirkus review
Los Angeles Times review
The New Inquiry review
Publishers Weekly review
Time Out New York review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Curfew
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Village on Horseback: Prose and Verse, 2003-2008
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Way Through Doors

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

Online "Best of 2013" Book Lists
2013 Year-End Online Music Lists

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
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)
weekly music release lists

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