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March 27, 2017

Book Notes - Patty Yumi Cottrell "Sorry to Disrupt the Peace"

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace

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.

Patty Yumi Cottrell's novel Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is a brilliant, darkly comic debut.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"In Cottrell’s stellar debut novel, 32-year-old Helen is in her Manhattan apartment when she receives a call that her adoptive brother has killed himself… The real attraction here is Helen: her perspective ranges from sharp (New York is 'a city so rich it funds poetry') to askew ('People who call themselves photographers are fake... the real charlatans of our time. Behind a photo is a perfectly fake person, scrubbed of all flaws, dead inside') to unhinged (her adoptive parents’ grieving takes the physical form of a middle-aged European man who walks around the house and helps himself to pizza). Cottrell gives Helen the impossible task of understanding what would drive another person to suicide, and the result is complex and mysterious, yet, in the end, deeply human and empathetic."

In her own words, here is Patty Yumi Cottrell's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Sorry to Disrupt the Peace:

As I wrote my book, I swept up the debris of my life. I trimmed the candles, I polished the mirrors, I watered my plants, etc. The following songs showed me how to love the void, how to care for the void as if it were an altar or a shrine.

"On the Bound" Fiona Apple: This song has been with me for almost twenty years. How brutal. It sounds like Fiona Apple is having a meltdown at a haunted house and the haunted house goes on forever. The last lines are especially savage: "Baby say that it's all going to be alright/I believe that it isn't."

"Swordsman" GZA: Listening to this is like drinking a glass of ice water as you watch the world burn down.

"Something On Your Mind" Karen Dalton: This song sounds contemporary even though it's from the 70's. Karen Dalton was in possession of one of the best voices ever recorded. It sounds like something emanating from a musical instrument resting inside its case.

"Deathtrap" Gravediggaz: Creepy and fucked up, it's another haunted house of a song. I like how the words are clinically insane, but logical. A lot of my friends in Minneapolis liked Gravediggaz. I haven't met anyone in Los Angeles who likes them, but hopefully one day I will.

"Suicide Demo for Kara Walker" Destroyer: Political, dream-like, shifting, immersive, and co-written by Kara Walker, this is one of the best songs from the last ten years. Dan Bejar has such a pure and complete vision. I've listened to "Suicide Demo for Kara Walker" hundreds of times. There's a bitter quality in Dan's voice, which I love: "Four more years/Four more years/Four hundred more years of this shit."

"Holofernes" Grouper: A palate cleanser. Clearing. Claire Donato told me I should listen to Grouper. She was right.

"Stroke It Noel" Big Star: I love Alex Chilton. I was very sad when he died. I wanted to meet him and ask him to tell me my horoscope. That was a great dream of mine when I was twenty-five years old. I grew up in the suburbs and there was something approachable yet scary about Big Star. I can't tell if this song is a joke or what. It sounds joyful. I think it might be about masturbation while listening to an orchestra, but I'm not sure.

"The Message" Nas: This is one of the most depressing songs I've ever heard. I can't even explain why I think it's so depressing. Perhaps it's the Sting sample. Yeah, I think it's probably that.

Patty Yumi Cottrell and Sorry to Disrupt the Peace links:

excerpt from the book
excerpt from the book

Fiction Advocate review
Los Angeles Review of Books review
Portland Mercury review
Publishers Weekly review

Literary Hub interview with the author
Los Angeles Review of Books interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

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