It’s been a light show week. Good thing I’ve FINALLY got my next NYRM Literary Society entry ready! I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay nearly two months ago, but I’ve been really struggling to find the proper song to go along with it. I knew it had to be a band with at least a little sense of humor, but also a great weight to them. A band with an historical sensibility, but with strong roots in New York. No one really seemed to fit Chabon’s wry, funny, nostalgic prose. After asking nearly everyone I know for suggestions and wracking my brain for week, it finally hit me yesterday in the shower. Oxford Collapse is as close a band as I can think of. They have a pleasant, punky sound, but there’s a lot more to their songs. Plus, they take themselves just seriously enough. Kavalier and Clay is entertaining enough to be a page-turner, but smart enough to be a critical darling. Just like Oxford Collapse. Their recent break-up-before-their-time gives the band’s music a nostalgic feeling that goes well with the novel.
I picked “A Wedding” in particular because of the way it starts. The weaving string lines are sparse but rich, just like the way the Golem, Kornblum, WWII, Judaism, magic, comics, you name it, are woven together in the novel. Plus, you can’t beat the lyric, “Catch a glimpse of her,” as a first lyric. It’s exactly like Joe’s first glimpse of Rosa. “And all the words we couldn’t find, all the rehearsed lines again, in 2010,” despite being the wrong year, reminds me of the second third of the novel, how much time passed without anyone saying how they really felt- or being unable to, anyways. Plus, the ideas of weddings and family connections are so central to the novel’s plot, that it all seems to work together.
I know that this song/band doesn’t really have the feel of weighty gravity of time passing in 20th century America for recent immigrants, but can you think of any one song that does? Oh, maybe Destroyer’s Bay of Pigs, come to think of it, but that doesn’t quite fit the feel of the novel to me. Anyways, that’s why novels are novels and songs are songs. Can you think of anything better? Help me out on this one!