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March 30, 2016

Book Notes - Mona Awad "13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl"

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

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, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Mona Awad's debut 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl is a magnificent novel-in-stories about women and their bodies.

The Guardian wrote of the book:

"Absorbing . . . Subtle but poignant . . . This sort of intrafeminine aggression will be familiar to most women, whatever side of the body war they’ve been on. But it is is a side of experience that hasn’t been much explored by literary novelists."


In her own words, here is Mona Awad's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl:


Music is a big part of my life and was particularly important to my novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, because music is extremely important to my main character, Lizzie—as a comfort, as a shield, and as an alternative reality she could inhabit when she wanted to escape her own. I made separate playlists for each of the 13 chapters. I would listen to them when I was not writing to help me stay in the world of the story and to help me build and imagine that world more fully. Because each chapter explores a different phase in my main character’s physical transformation, a different relationship, a different way of looking at and being in the world, the playlists were really varied, ranging from the dreamy dark wave and Goth rock of her youth, to '60s and '80s pop, to jazz to neoclassical and then back again to dark wave. This list represents an amalgam of the 13 playlists I made while writing this book. The songs, played in this order, convey the arc of the overall story and serve as a parallel narrative to the novel in sonic form. The songs are also, ultimately, ways of looking—both out at the world from Lizzie's eyes and ways of seeing into her.

"Some Velvet Morning," Nancy Sinatra
"I Let Love In," Nick Cave
"Tomorrow," Morrissey
"Blasphemous Rumours," Depeche Mode
"Precious Things," Tori Amos
"Sparks," Faith and the Muse
"Scarlet Thing In You," Peter Murphy
"I Love You In Your Tragic Beauty," Legendary Pink Dots
"Candy," Iggy Pop & Kate Piersen
"The Passenger," Siouxie and the Banshees
"Peep Show," Miranda Sex Garden
"Orbit," The Changelings
"Lines Her Eyes," Dum Dum Girls
"Is That All There Is?," Peggy Lee
"These Boots are Made for Walkin," Nancy Sinatra
"Strict Machine," Goldfrapp
"Pearl’s Girl," Underworld
"Temptation," New Order
"Gimme Shelter," Rolling Stones
"Paint It, Black," Rolling Stones
"Play With Fire," Rolling Stones
"Sinnerman," Nina Simone
"What The Water Gave Me," Florence + the Machine
"Don’t Fade Away," Dead Can Dance
"Written On the Sky," Max Richter
"Your Silent Face," New Order
"Song to the Siren," This Mortal Coil
"Moon River," Audrey Hepburn


Mona Awad and 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl links:

excerpt from the book

Globe and Mail review
Kirkus review
Macleans.ca review
Publishers Weekly review
Washington Post review

Book Flame interview with the author
Elle interview with the author
Globe and Mail interview with the author
Here & Now interview with the author
Late Night Library interview with the author
Los Angeles Times interview with the author
Montreal Gazette profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (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)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
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
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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