4 books that straddle the senses, brought to you by us at 4th Estate.
A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Egan’s feat in this novel is her articulation of a world without you at the centre. Prominent characters in one chapter are almost entirely absent in the next, as she zones in and out of lives and time periods. Encountering a myriad of characters in such different iterations is fascinating yet humbling – a picture slowly builds of people being swept forward on the big bad conveyor belt that is time. Despite all this philosophising, the book is hilarious and upbeat, with a rollicking soundtrack to match. After all, who doesn’t love a bit of Iggy Pop?
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
Do you like good music? Sweet soul music? Then Michael Chabon’s funk-tastic celebration of proper vinyl and old-fashioned record stores might strike the right chord. And if any book ever deserved its own soundtrack (complete with a specially-commissioned title song), it’s this pop culture-referencing epic of familial disharmony and bum-note business deals. You can find the playlist here.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Jazz aficionado Haruki Murakami’s novels are peppered with musical references. In his 2005 novel, Kafka on the Shore, a teenage runaway and an old man who can talk to cats cross paths in their quest to destroy a malignant spirit. Accompanying them on their way is a diverse soundtrack ranging from Schubert’s sonatas to the pop music of Prince, by way of Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.
The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross
Alex Ross’s The Rest is Noise looks at the fragmented landscape of classical music in the twentieth century. From pre-war to the Velvet-underground Ross takes readers on a tour, exploring the people and places that shaped musical development. Ross’ masterpiece is currently the inspiration for a year-long series of events at the Southbank Centre. Listen to the spotify playlist, or browse e-nuggets of the book here.
Words by Tara Al Azzawi
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