More musical notes
"When I came in, Léo Ferré was singing:
"`I sense the arrival
of trains full of Brownings,
Berettas and black flowers
And florists preparing bloodbaths
For the news on color TV ... '"
That's a stunning passage for the starkness of its content, to be sure, but also because of the slight awkwardness presumably introduced by the translation and because of the song's unfamiliarity, at least to me. The last two reasons may be more essential than the first to the passage's success.
Too often, popular music fails as an indicator of character in crime fiction precisely because it's so popular. If it's part of everyone's mental landscape, how can it signify a character's uniqueness? For me, a song can work better in fiction if I don't know it. When that happens, the author and I have to do the work. My experience is not filtered through countless listenings, half-heard snatches, radio, records, background music, television, commercials, ring tones and media hype.
Jim Fusilli has an interesting, ambivalent take on music in his story "The Ghost of Rory Gallagher," from the Dublin Noir collection. The central character is obsessed with the Gallagher of the title, a fiery Irish rock guitarist who died in 1995. That character listens to Gallagher with a passion that I'm guessing Fusilli shares.
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
French crime fiction
Irish crime fiction