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March 7, 2014

Book Notes - April Wilder "This Is Not an Accident"

This Is Not an Accident

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.

The short stories and novella in April Wilder's impressive collection This Is Not an Accident are filled with troubled relationships and quirky characters, masterfully unsettling mixtures of tragedy and comedy.

Kirkus wrote of the collection:

"Excellent meditations on the human condition, well-suited to rest alongside the likes of Denis Johnson and Richard Ford."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In her own words, here is April Wilder's Book Notes music playlist for her short fiction collection, This Is Not an Accident:


I offer this playlist with the totally lame caveat that I don't know a lot of the lyrics to the songs below (or to any songs). The association of these songs with the stories—and I guess their ultimate meaning for me—is mostly sound-driven: the feeling I get when a song is playing.

This Is Not an Accident
"Rainbow in the Dark" (Dio)—I picture the sisters in this story growing up in Wisconsin, drinking beer in fields, driving around listening to songs like this and banging their huge hair heads. Plus the sort-of-hilarious metaphor ("like a rainbow in the dark") seems appropos of Kat's fantastic inner workings.

The Butcher Shop
"Mr. Brightside" (the Killers)—this song (the sound and mood of it more than anything) capture for me Jack's desparation and longing for the wife he has lost but can't let go of.

We Were Champions
"The Jump Off" (Lil Kim)—I was jogging one day and this song came on and immediately put me in the kind of mood of high school girl's sports. I put the song on repeat and jogged and walked for hours while I wrote the sports parts (of this story) in my head.

It's a Long Dang Life
"Boom Boom" (John Lee Hooker)—I picture a very young Laney and Odd dancing to this song during their courtship, before he leaves for war and (she thinks) dies. Over the many years she thinks he is dead, whenever she hears this song she has to stop what she is doing and sometimes feels she's faint from the heartache.

Me Me Me
"Come Out and Play; keep ‘em separated" (the Offspring)—I can picture this song becoming Gilda's inner soundtrack after a shrink explains to her that she is a compartmentalizer.

Christiania
"Watching the Detectives" (Elvis Costello)—because Elvis Costello gives me the same bittersweet lovely-lonely feeling I get when I'm abroad, especially in the Scandinavian countries with their always-overcast lighting.

Creative Writing Instructor Evaluation Form *two songs*.
"You Can Leave Your Hat On" (Joe Cocker)—what Jim listens to when he's sitting in his study picturing the instructor (and, you know, whoever else) strip for him, though the one time he played the song and tried to get her (the instructor) to do it (strip for him), she said, "Why is it always a Mickey Rourke movie with you? At least pick your own song, Jim."

"Sex on Wheelz" (My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult)—what Mr. Pierce listens to when he's driving over to the instructor's house for workshop.

You're That Guy
"The People That We Love" (Bush)—a song I listened to on repeat, for days, while I walked around a park in Salt Lake City thinking about the novella.


April Wilder and This Is Not an Accident links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

American Short 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

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)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
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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