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January 13, 2017

Book Notes - Laurie Blauner "The Solace of Monsters"

The Solace of Monsters

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

Laurie Blauner's novel The Solace of Monsters is an innovative modern interpretation of Frankenstein.

Helen Phillips wrote of the book:

"The Solace of Monsters is courageous and innovative and mesmerizing, Frankenstein for a new age. Laurie Blauner never shies away from the grotesque, or from the beautiful."

In her own words, here is Laurie Blauner's Book Notes music playlist for her novel The Solace of Monsters:

My new novel, The Solace of Monsters, is about the adventures of Mara, a young woman, and the fifth version of a daughter created by her scientist father from other body parts. It's an updated Frankenstein story as seen through Mara's eyes. Memory and dreams play a large part in her story. And there is always the question as to whether pieces come together as a whole or does the whole disassemble into its parts? My musical interests include all kinds of music. I don't listen to music when I write but sometimes it is a reward after writing well. A playlist that evokes my book in some way includes:

1) Leonard Cohen - if I need to pick a particular song "Suzanne" whose lyrics, "And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind/ And you know that she will trust you/ For you've touched her perfect body with your mind." Which is about caring, communication, and traveling but it's the way his music and lyrics move, undulating like a river. It also brings up mind versus body themes, i.e., what is a perfect body? What is a perfect mind? How do emotions affect these? A journey reminds me of Mara. But it is his growling, deep voice that, somehow reminds me of Mara's voice and her grinding laugh.

2) Pink Martini - "Let's Never Stop Falling in Love" only because Mara falls in love with the world. And I enjoy the way Pink Martini take diverse and a variety of classical songs and do them in their own fashion because I never like writing the same book twice. I want to write something different every time but in my own way like Pink Martini.

3) Adele - Yes, she encompasses everything for everyone, sadness, joy, contemplation, declaration, life. "Turning Tables" with its lyrics "I can't keep up with your turning tables/under your thumb I can't breathe." This describes Mara's relationship with her father and the difficulty of loving and hating someone.

4) from Wicked - the song "Defying Gravity" because "Something has changed within me/It's time to trust my instincts/I think I'll trying defying gravity." With the wizard as a father figure, this is also true of Mara's story and her need to seek out the world and see what's in it. It's also true for anyone changing anything.

5) Camille Saint-Saens - "Danse Macabre" because I take ballet classes at an older age, which is insane. This song is a bit creepy, haunting, lively, and lovely at the same time (which describes my book) and also makes me want to dance to it. Instead, I imagine all the Maras dancing excitedly at the same time to this song.

Laurie Blauner and The Solace of Monsters links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review

Necessary Fiction essay by the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

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