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November 6, 2018

Maryse Meijer's Playlist for Her Novella "Northwood"


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

Maryse Meijer's novella Northwood is a beautiful and evocative literary fairy tale.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Meijer is an expert at worldbuilding, and the narrative she spins is fractured across fairy tale, mythology, and the occult . . . Like Anne Carson or Maggie Nelson, Meijer creates her own genre, somewhere between poetry and prose, myth and reality . . . Memorable, strange, and haunting. Fans of Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, and Kate Bernheimer will find much to love in Meijer's haunted woods."

In her own words, here is Maryse Meijer's Book Notes music playlist for her novella Northwood:

While writing Northwood over the course of three years, I went through several cycles of songs that I’d play while working. It started out very sappily romantic—Elvis, The Righteous Brothers, just a lot of old stuff—and then it got kind of dark in the middle period—P.J. Harvey, Aldous Harding, Xiu Xiu—and then, at the end, things became more peaceful. I was also looking for music that called up the spirit of the woods, animal energy, etc; but most of all, I wanted songs of longing, particularly by women, or interpreted in a way I found feminine.

P.J.’s song “The Northwood,” which is a rare b-side from one of her early albums, quotes the poem “Song of Wandering Angeus”, by William Butler Yeats. The idea of a song quoting a poem quoting a doomed love affair was a totem for me; in both Harvey and Yeats’ pieces, the lover goes out into the wild to sort out the fire within them. And that’s where my book starts: in the woods, with a fire.

1. The Northwood, P.J. Harvey
2. It's a Fire, Portishead
3. Horizon, Aldous Harding
4. Porno, Arcade Fire
5. Crazy in Love, Antony & the Johnsons
6. The Fox, Niki & the Dove
7. I Dream a Highway, Gillian Welch
8. Unchained Melody, The Righteous Brothers
9. Dear God I Hate Myself, Xiu Xiu
10. Hanging On, Active Child
11. Summit Down, Dead Forest Index
12. Mustn’t Hurry, Fever Ray

Maryse Meijer and Northwood links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Heartbreaker

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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