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April 10, 2018

Therese Bohman's Playlist for Her Novel "Eventide"


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

Therese Bohman's Eventide is a smart and haunting novel about art and love.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Bohman…is an adroit novelist with deep insights into the mind and heart of Karolina, a complex character whose restlessness, irresolution, and search for meaning make every one of her actions, both hesitancies and uncertainties, plausible and psychologically rich. Intelligent, impassioned, and compelling, [Eventide] explores complex inner worlds with great sensitivity and insight."

In her own words, here is Therese Bohman's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Eventide:

I listened to music all the time while writing Eventide. I made a playlist with the same atmosphere I wanted the novel to have, and I probably listened to it hundreds of times. It ended up with nine songs, most of them with a dark, electronic feel.

"All My Colours" – Echo and the Bunnymen

When I write, I imagine the story in images and scenes, as if it was a film. I've always thought this would be the perfect song for the opening credits. I pictured "Eventide – the movie" starting with this song and a shot of an approach over the Stockholm archipelago, the camera sweeping over the city, finding Karolina taking the metro from the Slussen station to the university, just as she does in the very first scene of the novel.

"Personal Things" – The Triffids
This is the song I imagined in the background while Karolina was fixing things in her new apartment. The breakup still echoing in her mind, the recent memories of packing boxes of personal things, and then unpacking them in her new apartment and half-heartedly painting the walls.

"Stockholm" – Jonathan Johansson

Jonathan Johansson is one of my favorite Swedish musicians, and I've been listening to his albums a lot while writing. Besides being quoted on the first page of Eventide, there is also a line almost quoted from "Stockholm" in the novel: when Karolina has a dream about a ferry crashing into Stockholm and her apartment breaking away from the building and smashing against the street. The lyrics are almost naïve, in a romantic, totally honest way, describing a longing to surrender, and for someone else to pick you up and tell you what to do with your life. And it is called "Stockholm" – everything about this song makes perfect sense.

"Wishful Summer Nights" – Kite

This song illustrates everything that Karolina feels is lost in her life, especially a sense of safety and belonging somewhere. The name of the song is so melancholic since it makes me think of the long, early summer nights that are so typically Swedish, with the tradition of celebrating midsummer with family and friends and the sun being up almost the whole night, making everything feel light and hopeful. And at the same time, everything about the midsummer tradition is such a strong sign of normality in Sweden: to have family and friends to celebrate with, ideally in a beautiful house in the countryside or the archipelago. Karolina has none of this, and I imagine that pictures of people celebrating midsummer is one of the things that makes her sad when she spends the evenings alone with a bottle of wine, looking at the updates from the people she follows on Instagram and Facebook.

"Mountains Crave" – Anna von Hausswolff

I imagine this song playing in the background when Karolina takes her walks. It has a sort of maximalist, bombastic feel that I relate to the inner monologue of Karolina: arty, dramatic, a bit over the top. The lyrics also relate to her thoughts about time and eternity, and I always imagine the sun setting when I listen to it. It's such a beautiful song that put me in the perfect mood for writing Eventide.

"Angel of the Morning" – Bettye Swann

A longtime favorite of mine, I had this song in mind when I wrote the part of Eventide where it is the morning after Karolina has slept with the editor of the newspaper she contributes to, and he has to leave, and she really want him to stay, and at the same time she knows that she can't ask that of him. The lyrics are like a perfect short story. I think the song is about being strong and weak at the same time, just as I think Karolina is. (And actually, that most interesting people are.)

"Ride" – Lana Del Rey

I love lots of things about Lana Del Rey, especially that a recurring theme in her music is about finding a balance between freedom and loneliness – which seems to be the theme in lots of things that I write as well. I think she is a master of describing the feeling of yearning for freedom, and at the same time realizing that there is a risk of ending up alone. And I think of Lana Del Rey and Karolina as kindred spirits, especially in the long version of the "Ride" video that is an absolute masterpiece, starting with the very Eventide-esque line "I was in the winter of my life." Parts of the monologue could be Karolina's: "Because I was born to be the other woman / Who belonged to no one / Who belonged to everyone / Who had nothing / Who wanted everything."

"Ruins of Rome" – The Sound of Arrows

I love the dreamy, light and airy feel of this song, and the fact that the lyrics are literally about ruins, which is something that occupies Karolina. The lyrics fit perfectly into Karolina's thoughts about art and architecture and history, and her feeling that her life has been wasted and there is nothing to remember her by. I think it is a hopeful song, one that fits the ending of Eventide: "Wake up there's a whole world left to see / One chance to rewrite history."

"Afternoons in Utopia" – Alphaville

I think of this song as an illustration of everything Karolina dreams about, and how she thinks of her relationship with Anders: the afternoons in utopia she spends with him in hotel rooms when he was able to sneak off and see her, the halcyon days that she sees as an ideal for how she wants her life to be.

As in a lot of the art I appreciate, this song borders on kitsch. Just like dreams of happiness often do.

Therese Bohman and Eventide links:

the author's Wikipedia entry

Kirkus review
PopMatters review

also at Largehearted Boy:

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