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March 17, 2017

Book Notes - Harold Abramowitz "Blind Spot"

Blind Spot

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.

Harold Abramowitz's novel Blind Spot is innovatively told and rewarding.

Berfrois wrote of the book:

"Abramowitz's novelistic vagueness probes how complexities can be drawn from chaos, ones that do not clarify the truth but ramify its possibilities."


In his own words, here is Harold Abramowitz's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Blind Spot:



With Blind Spot, I attempted to construct a narrative that was missing or that evaporated various narrative elements, especially time and character, with the hope that these elements would appear anyway, albeit via alternative routes.

I love music. I listen to music almost all of the time, though not very often while I’m actually writing. Blind Spot, like almost everything I write, is very musical. Compositional. So, as a writer, and even more so while I’m editing, I try to listen for the music of the text, the way it needs to be put together, like a composer or arranger might put together a musical score.

Therefore, a lot of what’s listed here is music I listened to around the writing of Blind Spot, or other music that I am listening to or have listened to around other writing that I am doing or have been doing. Inspirational music, or musical texts that then enter into conversation with my own texts.

Talulah Gosh by Talulah Gosh:

“Just A Dream” by Talulah Gosh

I listened to the great Talulah Gosh anthology album Backwash incessantly around the time I was writing and editing Blind Spot. Listening to these songs now immediately suspends time in the way I think the book sometimes does.

Intertube Tomorrow by The Frumpies

“Whatshisname Hearts The Frumpies” by The Frumpies

I also listened to the great Frumpies anthology, Frumpie One-piece, to the same time-suspending effect.

Salt Fare, North Sea by Chumbawamba:

I also listened to the Chumbawamba’s Readymades album, which is a beautiful album, to the same time-suspending effect. I actually feel myself turning dusty—stardusty?—when I listen to this music now, like if I don’t stop listening soon enough, I’ll turn to dust and float out the nearest open window.

Bird by The Knife:

“A Lung” by The Knife

My dear friend, the wonderful writer Amanda Ackerman, made me an amazing mix CD that was also in constant rotation around the time I was writing Blind Spot. There was a Knife song on the mix CD, not one of these but because of that one these became really important.

She's Amazing by Team Dresch:

“Hate the Christian Right!” by Team Dresch

“She’s Amazing” was also on Amanda’s mix CD, and is an important Blind Spot production song.

“Don’t Let Go (Love)” by En Vogue:

When books finally, miraculously, I think, come out in the world, they require a lot of energy. A different sort of energy is required to do readings, to talk about the book, etc. This work requires different musical accompaniment. This song has been helping me energetically since the book came out.

“Be My Lover” by La Bouche and “One Night in Heaven” by M People:

Both of these songs are also super helpful energy songs.

“Just an Echo in the Valley” by Rudy Vallée & His Connecticut Yankees; “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” by Victor Young and His Orchestra; and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by Dinah Washington:

The refrain “popular song” is one that recurs throughout the three sections of Blind Spot, titled “Hotel,” “Funeral,” and “Night,” respectively. During the course of the book, “Popular songs” are playing on radios, can be heard through open windows, and are often things that need to be remembered for important, though mysterious, reasons. These are what a “popular song” from the “Hotel” section of Blind Spot might sound like.

“It Might As Well Be Spring” by Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto; “Till the End of Time” by Timi Yuro; and “I’ll Buy That Dream” by Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest:

These are what “popular songs” from the “Funeral” section of Blind Spot might sound like.

“Let’s Get Together” by Hayley Mills; and “Theme from Exodus” by Ferrante and Teicher:

These are what “popular songs” from the Night section of Blind Spot might sound like.

“Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows)” by Jean Constantin; “Antoine and Colette” by Georges Delerue; and “Stolen Kisses” by Antoine Duhamel:

One thing I tried to do while writing Blind Spot was translate the text into an imaginary French, since I can’t actually speak French, as if the text were actually the voiceover to a French New Wave film.

“Upside Down (Unreleased Chic Mix)” by Diana Ross; “Goody Goody” by Lisette Melendez; and “Loba” by Shakira:

Constant inspiration.


Harold Abramowitz and Blind Spot links:

excerpt from the book

Berfrois review
The Bookends Review review

CCM interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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