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July 31, 2014

Book Notes - Nick Harkaway "Tigerman"


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.

Nick Harkaway's new novel Tigerman is a splendid book, literary fiction that defies genres as it tells a timely superhero story with intelligence and warmth.

The Guardian wrote of the book:

"His great gift as a novelist – one he shares with writers such as China Miéville, Lauren Beukes and even Eleanor Catton – is to merge the pace, wit and clarity of the best 'popular' literature with the ambition, complexity and irony of the so-called "literary" novel. Tigerman is in some ways all about the stripes: the distinctive becomes camouflage."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.

In his own words, here is Nick Harkaway's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, Tigerman:

1. "Hammer To Fall" - Queen

This song defines the early '80s and the absurdity of the Mutually Assured Destruction years, and Lester Ferris comes out of that time as much as I do. Of course, the island of Mancreu itself is absolutely waiting for the hammer.

2. "The Man’s Too Strong" - Dire Straits

Another one I remember from back when, and again, it feeds into the mood of the island and of Lester. Paired with a pastel drawing by Peter Howson - of a boxer - which hangs on my wall, it probably fed me the idea of The Sergeant.

3. "Furr" - Blitzen Trapper

One of the songs that was on repeat while I worked. There's no particular relevance to the book, but it's a great writing song and in some measure its rhythms must be in the text.

4. "City of New Orleans" - Arlo Guthrie

I actually first heard this song on a Johnny Cash album - I was about five - but in this particular case I think the Man In Black has to yield to Arlo. I love it. It's about dynasties and changes. 'Nuff said.

5. "Gangnam Style" - PSY

Rapidly becoming the world's most over-played track - which, of course, is why it’s here. The Boy in Tigerman listens to it about a thousand times a day.

6. "Lollipop" - MIKA

Secret Easter Egg just for you: Kaiko Inoue exercises to this. If anyone finds out, she will actually have to murder them.

7. "I’m A Believer" - The Monkees

In the movie of Tigerman that occasionally plays in my head, Lester is listening to this when something really appalling happens in Afghanistan. Or in the chase sequence. It's possible I watch too much Tarantino, although as it happens I don't, really.

8. "Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)" - Gotan Project

Shola plays this when he puts on his red shirt every night. He's got the moves to go with it.

9. "Flower Duet from Lakmé" - (Leo Delibes)

More popularly known as "that bit of music they have on the British Airways ads", but before that it was just a really gorgeous bit of opera. This is playing in Sandrine's head pretty much all the time.

10. "Kashmir" - Led Zeppelin

Cape-swirlin' bad guy music.

Nick Harkaway and Tigerman links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

All Things Considered review
Booklist review
BookPage review
Daily Express review
Guardian review
Kirkus review
Los Angeles Times review
Publishers Weekly review
Scotsman review
Washington Post review

BookPage interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Angelmaker

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
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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