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July 14, 2017

Book Notes - Dina Nayeri "Refuge"


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.

Dina Nayeri's powerful novel Refuge is a timely and important story of the immigrant experience.

Library Journal wrote of the book:

"A poignant reflection on the plight of refugees… Nayeri uses gentle humor and evocative prose to illuminate the power of familial bonds and to bestow individuality on those anonymous people caught between love of country and need for refuge. A beautiful addition to the burgeoning literature of exile."

In her own words, here is Dina Nayeri's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Refuge:

Dear David,

Can I do this a little differently? For my first novel, I gave you a playlist carefully curated for that story. I gave you songs that appeared in the novel, songs that touched on important themes, songs from 1970's Iran. I made choices with a red pen in hand. Then, I explained the story behind each song. I was very methodical about my analysis. Since then I've had my heart broken, and I've had a novel discarded, and I've picked up my life again. I've found the love of my life and had him taken away and returned to me again. I've moved country again. I've lost trust and found joy in the cracks. I've become a mother. Now, I know something palpable, but unexplainable, about how music heals and how it impacts my writing when I'm hardly paying attention to it at all. The music from a time is like the fog around a day; it distorts your vision and wets your face but you can't divide it into parts and narrate it the way you can the story of that day. It becomes the mood and tone in your voice as you tell it. And so, what I'm giving you isn't a roster of important songs, but a mood— of my life in 2014 New York, of finding love and a novel in an artist colony, and of the birth of Refuge, the story of losing my father to a widening cultural gulf, to age, to opium, and to exile. In fall 2014, I sat alone in my cabin at the MacDowell Colony for two months, writing Refuge and falling in love with Sam. Each morning, I found a new song to send to him or he sent one to me, and I listened to that song all day as I worked. Every few nights he gave me a book, or I gave one to him. After I read Stoner, and after we talked about it, I thought "This is the kind of writing I want to do. And this is the man of my life." I listened to these songs and I read Stoner, and I wrote and wrote.

Dina Nayeri and Refuge links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
Newsday review
Publishers Weekly review

All Things Considered interview with the author
BookPage interview with the author
Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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

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