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Archive for the ‘Craig Taylor’ Category

5dials32SOUNDTRACK: DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE-Tiny Desk Concert #430 (April 6, 2015).

dcfcIt’s hard for me to believe that Death Cab for Cutie had not been on a Tiny Desk Concert before.  But they are here at last.  Well, three of them anyhow.  It’s simply Ben Gibbard (of course) on vocals, Nick Harmer on bass, and Zac Rae on piano (now that Chris Walla has left).  And what makes this concert so special is that all 4 songs are played on piano–there’s no guitar at all.  It gives all of these songs (familiar and new) a much starker feel.  Not better, but very different.

There are two new song from Kintsugi, “Black Sun,” and “No Room In Frame” which sound so much like Death Cab for Cutie (probably because of Gibbard’s voice), that they fit in perfectly with the other two songs. “Your Heart Is An Empty Room” from Plans and “Passenger Seat” from Transatlanticism.

It’s a little uncomfortable watching Gibbard sing close ups with his eyes closed, but he sounds right on.  He says some nice words about NPR (a station they actually listen to for news) and he gets a nice round of applause when they say they’ll do a fourth song.  And Gibbard can even hit those high notes in this quiet setting.  This is a must hear for any fan of the band.

[READ: April 2, 2015] Five Dials 32

Issue Number 32 is a thematic one–based around the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts.  And so many of the writers and artists are from New Zealand.  There are dozens of paintings by Francis Upritchard: colorful watercolors of monkeys, monocolor paintings of people and colorful masks.  They all look incredibly simple–like first drafts–yet are quite effective in their displays.

A Letter from the Editor:  On New Zealand Issues
Craig Taylor didn’t have a letter last issue.  This time he talks about the issue and about issues in New Zealand. He talks a bit sadly about how the New Zealand writer most often find a home in London even if the writers mostly think about national (New Zealand) issues. (more…)

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fivedials_no30SOUNDTRACK: Random songs at the roller rink (December 29, 2013)

skateWe went rollerskating on Sunday and they played all kinds of pop hits.  They played “Dancing Queen” and “YMCA,” sure, but they also played a lot of recent big hits.  And I said to myself either I have grown more tolerant of pop songs or pop songs are simply better than they were in the 80s and 90s.

Because I thoroughly enjoyed hearing “Gangnam Style” (perhaps a pop song where you don’t know the words is really the way to go) and “What Does the Fox Say?” (or perhaps when the words are so preposterous).  “Blurred Lines” is incredibly catchy (although it would be better without the offensive lyrics).  I also enjoyed “Call Me Maybe” which is treacly sure, but the melody is super catchy and “Rolling in the Deep” because Adele kicks ass.

Of course when I looked at the list of #1 hits for 2013, I literally didn’t know any of them (except “Blurred Lines” and “Royals,”) so maybe pop is not what I think it is.  Maybe I just like YouTube sensations.

Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!  Happy New Year.

[READ: December 27, 2013] Five Dials #30

I was surprised to get this issue of Five Dials just as I was reading the other recent ones.  It allowed me to finish up Five Dials and the year at around the same time.  This issue introduces a new graphics editor: Antonio de Luca and he really changes the look of the magazine.  (He also used to work for The Walrus).  Rather than pictures being centered in the page, they spread from one page to another (which works well online but less so if you print it out).  The illustrations are also much bolder.

This is a short issue (which I appreciated).  And it does what I especially like about Five Dials–focusing tightly on one thing, in this case Albert Camus, who I like but who I have not read much.  It’s his centenary and many things have been said about him, so what else is there to say?  They find two things worth saying.

CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editor: On Tony, On Dean, On Camus, On Algiers
Taylor talks about the illustrations of the issue–they were spray painted on walls by an Algerian-French collective known as the Zoo Project.  The new editor took photos and then Photoshopped away the extraneous stuff to leave us with just the graphics–giving them a permanence that they would normally not have.  Taylor also says goodbye to Dean Allen, the outgoing art director.  Then he gets to the heart of this issue: Albert Camus and Algiers (where Camus is from).  Curtis Gillespie decided to go to Algiers to find out how much the people there know and love Camus (and he found it to be a much more difficult trip than he imagined). (more…)

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fivedials_no29SOUNDTRACK: BOB & DOUG McKENZIE-“The 12 Days of Christmas” (1981).

bob & dougThis is my preferred old school version of “The 12 Days of Christmas.”  It was one of the first parodies of the song that I had heard (and I was big in parodies back in 1981).

I loved how stupid they were (on the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…a beer).  I loved trying to figure out what a two-four was, and it cracked me up that they skipped a whole bunch of days.

I also enjoyed how they continued to snipe at each other throughout the song.  Not comedy gold perhaps (that would be “Take Off” recorded with Geddy Lee, but a nice way to start, or end, the season on these “mystery days.”

Evidently, decades after SCTV went off the air, Bob & Doug got an animated TV show (without Rick Moranis).  And they made a video of the song. Hosers.

[youtube-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2oPio60mK4]

[READ: December 3, 2013] Five Dials #29

Five Dials Number 29 was the first issue I had read in a while.  (I read this before going back to 26-28).  And it really reminded me of how great Five Dials is.  I don’t know why this isn’t Part 2 after Number 28’s Part 1 (there was no 28b either), but that’s irrelevant.  This is an independent collection of great writing.  I was instantly surprised and delighted to see that César Aria was included in this issue (I didn’t even know he had made inroads in England).

CRAIG TAYLOR-Letter from the Editor: In Swedes and Open Letters
Taylor’s usually chipper introduction is saddened by the contents of this one.  The discussion centers on Sweden and the city of Malmo, where integration is proving to be tougher than they’d hoped.  Black skinned people are profiled pretty explicitly.  Taylor talks about meeting the writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri (who they subsequently published in issue 21) who deals with issues of race.  In March of 2013, Khemiri wrote an open letter to Swedish Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask after she brushed off concerns about racial profiling. The letter went viral including getting translated into 15 languages.  So I guess there is some positivity after all. (more…)

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fivedials_no28SOUNDTRACK: PHINEAS AND FERB-The Twelve Days of Christmas (2010).

phineasWhile The Bird and the Bee has become my new favorite serious version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, this Phineas and Ferb version is my new favorite silly version of the song.  Sure it’s especially funny for fans of the show but, as anyone who has seen the show knows, Dr. Doofenshmirtz is comedy gold and so his wishes for Christmas and his updates and concessions (and the fact that he is a traditionalist) absolutely make this worthy of repeat listens.

[READ: December 19, 2013] Five Dials Number 28

Five Dials #28 is vaguely thematic–about heroes.  Some items are literal (the writers-as-heroines drawing), some are speculative (my favorite conceit–the stories of quickly killed side characters in movies), and some are unrelated at all–the guy who helped out Will Self.  This issue was launched from Sydney, Australia.

CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editor: On Heroes and Convicts
Taylor talks about everything mentioned above and then talks about Robert Hughes’ The Fatal Shore and his primer on modern art: The Shock of the New (which has an accompanying documentary series). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE BIRD AND THE BEE-12 Days of Christmas (2008).

The+Bird+and+the+Bee++la+classeI first heard a bit of this song in a Sephora a few years ago.  Then they played it on New Girl (in two separate Christmas episodes).  But I never knew who the artist was. Then some kind soul pointed me to the band and lo, I found the track.

I don’t know much else about the Bird and the Bee, but this is hands down my favorite rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas.  In addition to the great, groovy sound (which reminds me of the Cocteau Twins), I just loved how…different the song sounded.  Turns out, according to their soundcloud page, “we changed the song so that every repeat is a completely different progression.”  I love it.

The song never gets boring and her voice is simply gorgeous.  I only wish it was available for sale or download or something.

[READ: December 16, 2013] Five Dials #27

I was a little harsh on Five Dials Number 26, but overall, it still kept up the greatness that has been Five Dials.  And #27 keeps up the excellence.  Since Five Dials likes globetrotting, this issue is based in and around Greece, the county that is in tumult.

This one also has letters from Our Glorious Readers.  One of the readers sensibly comments that the Berlin issue would keep her busy throughout the winter.  Wish I had doled mine out better.  I feel that Toronto gets a little knock from the editors who seem to think it is not as cool as Berlin.  I also enjoyed the reader’s description of Peter Stamm’s writing as being like skiing.

CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editor: On Timelines and Greek Photographs
Taylor talks about the timelines that tend to appear in newspapers, most of which seem to talk about the collapse of something or other (like the Greek economy).  After visiting Athens, Five Dials felt it was time to bring some Greek writing to English readers. The letter talks about the contents within and gives good context to Dimitris Tsoumblekas’ photos which are quite good but are even better when you know what they are doing–especially the one about his father. (more…)

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fivedials_no26SOUNDTRACK: BOB DYLAN-Christmas in the Heart (2009).

220px-Bob_Dylan_-_Christmas_in_the_HeartI have been a dabbler in Dylan over the years.  I like his hits, I like some of his albums, but I’ve never been a huge huge fan.  So the biggest surprise to me was that Bob Dylan now sounds like Tom Waits.  His voice is so crazily gravelly, it’s almost (almost) unrecognizable as Dylan.

That said, on some of the tracks it works very well–like he’s had too much to drink and is enjoying the revelry of these traditional songs.  I imagine him as a benevolent uncle trying to get the family to sing along.  And sing along they do.  He has a group of backing singers who sound like they are straight out of the forties and fifties (on some songs the women sing incredibly high especially compared to Dylan’s growl).  I’m not always sure it works, but when it does it’s quite something.

The first three songs are a lot of fun. However, when he gets to “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” it really sounds like he has hurt himself.  He seems to really strain on some of those notes–note the way he pronounces “herald” (heeerald).

The more secular songs fare better with “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” sounding especially Waitsian and being all the better for it.  Although I feel that perhaps he made up some lyrics–“presents on the tree?”  It’s interesting that in “O Come, All Ye Faithful” he sings the first verse in Latin (I don’t know that I’ve heard any other pop singers do that) and it works quite well.

A less successful song is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in which the music just seems to be too slow for him.  His verses end early and it seems like the backing singers are just out in the middle of nowhere.  Perhaps the best song is “Must Be Santa.”  I love this arrangement (by Brave Combo) and Dylan has a ton of fun with it (and the video is weirdly wonderful too).

“Christmas Blues” is a bit of a downer (as the title might suggest).  I’d never heard this song before and Dylan is well suited to it.  Dylan’s version of “The Little Drummer Boy” is also very good–he croons gently and his voice sounds really good.  I was surprised to hear him do “Christmas Island,” a song I have come to love this year–his version is quite fun as well, with the backing singer doing Aloha-ays.

Finally, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is pitched a wee bit high for him (and the Waits voice is more scary than avuncular here).

So overall it’s a weird collection (to say nothing of the artwork–both the cover and the inside cover), but I think it’s well suited to the day after the festivities.

[READ: December 15, 2013] Five Dials #26

I was shocked to realize who many Five Dials issued I had put off reading (and that this one came out over a year ago!).  I knew 26 was a large issue, so I put it off.  And then put it off.  And then put it off, until Issue 29 came out.  (I read 29 before this one, which got me to jump back and tackle this large one).

I have to admit I did not enjoy this one as much as previous Five Dials.  The bulk of the issue was taken up with German short stories, and I don’t know if it was the choices of the editors, but (a few) of the stories just didn’t grab me at all.  Having said that, there were one or two that I thought were very good.  But with this being such a large issue, perhaps it deserved to be spaced out a little better–Weltanschauung fatigue, no doubt.

This issue starts with Letters from Our Glorious readers and other sources.
I feel like this is a new feature for Five Dials (although again, it has been a while).  There is applause for the Bears (From Issue #24) and the acknowledgement of Zsuzsi Gartner’s first adoptees of her story ideas (Issue #25 Pt 1).  There’s also the amusing story of a guy who got nailed at work for printing the color issue (something I used to do at my old job as well) and a refraining of answering spam.

CRAIG TAYLOR-On Ewen and German
Taylor doesn’t say much in this intro, since the “heavy lifting” is done by Anna Kelly.  He does mention Paul Ewen (and his food writing) and the first Five Dials questionnaire (which I assume it is too late (and too far away) for me to submit for that free HH book).

ANNA KELLY
She explains about wanting to know secrets, and how when she was little, learning Pig Latin was a such a huge boon to her secretive life.  Then her sister started studying German, and Anna herself was hooked.  She says that reading German works in German is like flying.  And she wants to share German language writers with us.  Of course, we won’t be reading them in German, so there will be no flying.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ELFIN SADDLE-Wurld (2010).

Yesterday I mentioned the Wurld DVD.  Today I wanted to talk about the music.

There are three songs that come on the audio extras portion of he DVD: “Wurld Soundtrack (abridged),” “A River of Horses” and “A Tree in Dark Water/A Sinking Celebration.”  The “Wurld Soundtrack” is indeed the music from the film.  The abridged version is about 15 minutes long, while the movie is about 23.  I’m not sure what got cut or why it needed to get cut, but it’s a good reference to the movie–dark, a little creepy with moments of beautiful melody.

“A River of Horses” is dominated by a xylophone melody and a cool piano riff.  It has a loping quality that I really like.  It’s instrumental (and serves as one of the main themes of the DVD).  “A Tree in Dark Water” is a slower dirge-like piece which features Honda’s “Da Da Dee Da” vocals.  It more or less morphs into “A Sinking Celebration” which has a sound not unlike a carnival, but a very slow, almost sad carnival.  Both of these songs work as backing music for other aspects of the DVD–I’m not sure if they were songs first that they decided to use for the DVD or vice versa.

For the full Elfin Saddle experience, though, it’s worth watching the live show that comes on the DVD.  The show is a 7 song set that they performed before the opening of the Wurld exhibit in Montreal.  So yes, this show was performed Live at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art.  Nearly all of the songs come from their debut album Ringing for the Begin Again.

The band plays a kind of droney world music. And it has a very homemade feel–cobbled together, but brilliantly.  There’s an accordion, a bowed saw and a bunch of other percussive items–things that look like found metal.  There are two singers, Jordan McKenzie does most of the singing and he sings in a deep voice and sometimes in a higher voice that has a middle eastern feel.  Emi Honda is Japanese and that’s evident in her intonations, whether she is singing backing or lead vocals.  The band is also utterly multi-instrumental. McKenzie sings, plays accordion and xylophone at the same time (must be seen to be believed) while Honda switches from saw to ukulele to drums all in one song.  She also later bows cymbals for a very eerie sound.  Although they make most of the noise themselves, they are accompanied by a cellist and a double bass (which acts as a percussive time keeper).  Once they add a tuba, the song sounds much more klezmerish (although there are elements of klezmer throughout).

In the background of the show, on the projection screen, is the spinning wurld from their art exhibit.  The whole show is mesmerizing.  Songs include: “The Bringer,” “Sakura,” ” Muskeg Parade,” “Wind Songs,” “Garden,” ” The Procession,” ” The Ocean.”

[READ: October 15, 2012] Five Dials #25B

The issue continues the theme of the short story and Frank O’Connor.  It features a hugely long story by Nathan Englander and a couple more unusual short stories as well.  I enjoyed Part 2 of the Cork Issue more than Part I.

CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editor: On Englander and Lists
In addition to introducing us to Nathan Englander and wondering if we’ve all read his award-winning book What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Taylor talks about lists.  The staff was pooled for their opinions with the intent to make it seem like the staff was an individual with specific tastes in Books, Music, Movies, Food, etc. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BELLE AND SEBASTIAN-Live at KEXP, April 13, 2006 (2006).

This four song set samples a broad swath of Belle & Sebastian’s career.  It takes place after The Life Pursuit‘s release, but they only play one song from it “To Be Myself Completely” (with Stevie on vocals).

It’s amazing how quiet and shy the band seems i the interviews (or is that bored and petulant) especially after being through the mad swings of success.  Indeed, the interviews are almost embarrassing how unresponsive the band is (but not rude unresponsive, just unresponsive).  Like “where did the soul influence on this album come from?”  “Probably black America.”  “Did the new producer have any influence on the soulfulness?”  “Not really.”

But they do let the music speak for them.  And they don’t just do the horn songs or the strings songs.  They play “She’s Losing It” from Tigermilk (with lots of horns–it sounds great), they play “A Century of Fakers” with strings (although the female vocals seem a little too subdued on this track).  They also play a rollicking cover of Badfinger’s “No Matter What.”  It’s a delightfully poppy song which I didn’t know but which Sarah did (and I thought was the Beatles, and the DJ guessed Paul McCartney wrote it–he didn’t).  It’s when discussing this song that the band finally gets animated, perhaps they just don’t want to talk about themselves.

[READ: October 15, 2012] Five Dials #25

The issue is all about the short story.  Five stories from Lydia Davis, a short story contest from Zsuzsi Gardner, and a couple longer stories as well.   But there’s also some poetry and an essay.  And I fear I have to say I didn’t enjoy this issue as much as some of the other ones.  I love short stories, but I didn’t really love these very much.  And, the essay at the end was a lot of fury about very little.  I have to assume Part Two will simply kick ass.

CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editors: On Orphans and Cork
Taylor name-checks the Cork International Short-Story Festival and mentions how this issue is a sort of tie in to the festival (and just how many writers wanted to be in this Cork issue).  Taylor says that many readers wanted more short stories in the Five Dials issues, and that Noel O’Regan, short story editor says that the short story is always alive–witness the great success of the Cork Festival.  Writers flock to it (and a hefty prize is given).  This issue is only Part I of the fiction issue because they simply had to break it into two parts. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PHISH-Live Bait 5 (2011).

When this was released it was an astonishing free giveaway.  A mix of previously released and brand new recordings that spanned from 1987 to 2009!  Over 6 hours of music!  For free.

It’s fun to hear the really early stuff–like the songs that are from “Ian McLean’s Party at Connie Condon’s Farm” where the band is laughing with the audience (which seems like it’s about 100 people).  And when they invite everyone to another free part coming up.   This was back in 1987 before they had released their official debut Junta (who was taping all this stuff for them back then?  And with such good quality?).  But this one is especially fun because you can hear dogs barking during the quieter parts.

There’s also a big chunk of live Gamehendge material from Townshend Family Park in Vermont (circa 1989).  The middle block features the addition of The Giant Country Horns who play on “Flat Fee” and great versions of “David Bowie” and “Gumbo.”  I wouldn’t want the horns all the time, but they do add something to these shows.

Then there’s a jump to 1996 and a whole series of songs from shows at Loring Air Force base (through 1998).  There’s a 27 minute “Down with Disease” and a fun “Bathtub Gin.”  There’s then a bunch of songs from one show at the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation.

After a few year’s hiatus, they resume in 2003 back at Loring.  There’s a great version of “Waves,” although I found the “Mike’s Song” from this era kind of anemic.  And then, interestingly, there’s a “Split Open and Melt Jam” which is indeed, just the jam from the song and not the song itself.  “Suzy Greenberg” features Sharon Jones–it’s funny to me to hear r&b singers singing about a Jewish woman going to a neurologist. Fish, by the way has some of the funniest lines during the “forgotten my name bit.”  I’m also intrigued by the 2009 version of “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters,” a pretty but kind of goofy song that dates back to 1985!

All in all, this was a very cool freebie to give to fans.

[READ: July 5, 2011] Five Dials 24

The newest Five Dials came as something of a surprise since Number 23 came out not too long ago and there was talk of the next issue being quite large.  But I like the small editions of Five Dials.  And this one is a cool, bite-sized nugget–a little fiction, an interview and an essay.  I have to assume this one was released when it was because it has a remembrance of David Rakoff, making this release rather timely.

…plus bear illustrations like you won’t believe by BECKY BARNICOAT (funny and dark drawings), LIZZY STEWART (beautiful pencil drawings) and NEAL JONES (blue bears). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: LAMBCHOP- “2B2” (2012).

I don’t have much exposure to Lambchop.  I know of  them mostly as a slow, country-type band.  And that’s why I haven’t listened to them much.  So I picked one song from their latest album, Mr. M, to talk about (because they are associated with Five Dials, see below).

And, indeed, they are slow.  I wouldn’t say country so much as roots, maybe, traditional folk or something.  It’s certainly slow.  This song reminds me in someways of Tindersticks, although a very stripped down Tindertsicks.  Of course, what I like about Tindertsicks is that they are not stripped down.  So this song kind of leaves me a little flat.  I like it, but I’ve already got music that’s like this ti listen to.

I’ll bet though, that it would make great background music to an engaging story (see below).  I wonder what song they chose to remix.  It’s be crazy if I picked it.

[READ: May 3, 2012] Five Dials 23

Five Dials 23 was recently released with quite little fanfare.  That may be because it is like an appetizer for the soon to be released Issue 24 which promises to be very large.

Five Dials 23 contains only one piece (and an Letter from the Editor).  The piece is by Javier Marías, whom I’ve read and enjoyed and have put on my list of authors to explore more.

CRAIG TAYLOR-“On That Fiction Feeling and Lambchop”

Craig Taylor’s introduction wonderfully encapsulates why I prefer to read fiction to non-fiction.  I have friends who say they only like to read non-fiction because at least they’re learning something (or some variant of that).  And while it’s compelling to argue that you learn stuff from fiction too, it’s not always easy to prove.  So Taylor’s Letter from the Editor is where I can point people in the future:

I remember it happened when I read part of Runaway by Alice Munro, specifically the three linked short stories ‘Chance’, ‘Soon’ and ‘Silence’. I remember the names of the North London streets I was compelled to walk – from Messina Avenue to Woodchurch Road to Greencroft Gardens – just to free myself from the sensation that had blossomed within me after I set down the book. During that walk, the neighbourhood seemed raw and responsive. I was unsettled, but in the best possible way; I was in the midst of experiencing the kind of sadness that can only be induced by fiction, which is more potent sadness than most. Also in this jumble of sensation brought on by Munro was a vow to live better, to somehow dodge the mistakes of her characters. There was a bit of a ‘what the hell am I doing with my life?’; a bit of a ‘pay attention to the details’; a bit of an ‘appreciate life more’. In short, the great inner churning that comes at the end of a few extraordinary pieces of fiction.

The details aren’t relevant, it’s the overall mood and idea that he conjures that is.  Although he mentioned Munro, he begins to talk about The Leopard by Tomasi di Lampedusa.  How this debut (and only) novel has left a strong impact not only on him and many more who have read it but also on Marías.  And that that it was Marías’ essay is about: The Leopard.

The second half of his introduction talks about the next issue and that a 10″ vinyl album will be released with it.  It will feature a double A side with author Hollis Hampton-Jones reading from her novel Comes the Night, while backed by Lambchop.  The other side features a remix of a song by Lambchop from their Mr. M album.  The end of the Letter from the Editot is given over to Hampton-Jones and her remembrance of the recording session.  (It’s very cool).

EMILY ROBERTSON and TUCKER NICHOLS drew the cool pictures of leopards.

JAVIER MARÍAS-“Hating The Leopard

This essay, translated by Margaret Jull Costa,talks about the novel The Leopard and how as a novelist, Marías hates it, even though as a reader, he loves it.

I love the surprising way he opens this: There is no such thing as the indispensable author or novel.”  Because even if the best novelist in the world never wrote, the world woul dnot be different.  I also love this insight, which I actually used recently when talking about Ulysses to someone (yes, I’m that guy) that books which “aspired to being ‘modern’ or ‘original’… leads inevitably to an early senescence or, as others might say, they become ‘dated.’  …. They can sometimes seem slightly old-fashioned or, if you prefer, dated, precisely because they were so innovative, bold, confident, original and ambitious.”  But he quickly points out that The Leopard does not fall into this dated category.

Before explaining why The Leopard has stayed with him, he gives some basic background about its publication and near lack of publication.  Indeed, Tomasi di Lampedusa (how do you say that last name?) died before it was published (but not before receiving several rejection letters).  What’s especially surprising is why he wrote the novel in the first place: “the relative late success of his cousin, the poet Lucio Piccolo…led Lampedusa to make the following comment in a letter: ‘Being absolutely certain that I was no more of a fool than he, I sat down at my desk and wrote a novel.'”  Nothing inspires like jealousy!  He also wrote because he was a solitary person.  He was married, but he seems to spend a lot of time alone.  He wanted the book published but not at the expense of his heirs (that’s nice).

Marías talks a bit about why he finds the book so extraordinary (although he says that so much has been written about the novel that he is reluctant to add more).  But one thing that impressed upon him was how the book is about preparing for death, but how, “Death stalks the book not in any insistent way, but tenuously, respectfully, modestly, almost as part of life and not necessarily the most important part either.”  As far as hating the book, Marías feels that perhaps some novelists have earned the right to hate it.

I always enjoy Five Dials.  I can only hope that my posting about it here can get more people to check it out.  Now to see why my library doesn’t have a  copy of The Leopard.

For ease of searching I include: Javier Marias.

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