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May 1, 2017

Book Notes - Henry Hoke "Genevieves"


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.

Winner of the Subito Press book prize for prose, Henry Hoke's short fiction collection Genevieves is truly haunting and lyrical.

Brian Evenson wrote of the book:

"The stories in Genevieves flit and flirt about the edges of different genres. Quirky and quietly unruly, these are the kinds of pieces Djuna Barnes might have written if she'd been born in the South on the verge of the 21st century"

In his own words, Henry Hoke's Book Notes playlist for his short story collection Genevieves:

When I was little I wanted my name to be Genevieve.

Here are 9 haunted songs to accompany my 9 contemporary ghost stories.

Genevieve chose them.

"Humanize" by Lizzo
I love a good fade-in. The first piece in my book is about a homecoming, an evil parental figure and different kinds of drivers. Here's a track from the car stereo.

"Wild Heart (Backstage Demo)" by Stevie Nicks
The story "Genevieve Exists" has explicit references to "Rhiannon" lyrics. We've all heard that song a lot, so I'll sub this raw Stevie experience instead. It played on repeat while I concocted the beginning pieces of the collection.

"Family Affair" by UGK
"Surprise Island" is the only part of the book that references my real family. This one's for my real cousins and our real dock in Alabama. It's playing on a boom box in the darkness of the lakeshore.

"Fantasy" by DYE
There may or may not be an alien encounter in the fourth story. There's definitely a cool shirt. I selected this because it sounds like both those things.

"Amelia (Orchestral Version)" by Joni Mitchell
"MoNa," the cinematic centerpiece of my book, has multiple endings. In one of them Genevieve climbs onto her sister (an unfathomably large machine) and they roll across America. So this track is for transformative trips, especially the one Joni took to write about the one Amelia took.

"Train Song" by Pat Metheny Group
"Wilmington" is set on a train. The train is stopped because of a mysterious accident, but there's the specter of movement. This song.

"I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore" by Scott Walker
Weird buildings are a recurring element of Genevieves. This track is for the inhabitants of the weirdest one, the Building called Genevieve, a skyscraper.

"Ferris Wheel" by The-Dream
Two siblings get separated from their parents in an amusement park. There's a funhouse waiting for each of them. I forget whether or not this has a happy ending.

"Hiders/We Belong Together" by CFCF
The final story in my book is about leaving a city, or having a city leave you before you get the chance. This mashup's mournful spirit fits the fleeting. The moment the rain stops and the sun comes out.

Henry Hoke and Genevieves links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for The Book of Endless Sleepovers

also at Largehearted Boy:

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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

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