Arts + Music » Arts + Culture

Noise: Fiction Inspired by Sonic Youth

Edited by Peter Wild (Harper)


In the first book of this series (The Smiths are next), 21 American and British authors were asked to pick a Sonic Youth song and write a short story inspired by its title. No rules. Some authors chose to evoke the band's dissonance and chaotic noise in their language, or to play on lyrics, while others use the title as a springboard for plots that have as much to do with Britney Spears as they do Sonic Youth.

Rebecca Godfrey may have drawn from her experiences writing about the Reena Virk murder in "shadow of a doubt," a non-stop teenage confession to a journalist investigating a horrific crime. Katherine Dunn's "that's all I know (right now)" has neighbours casually debating the origins of a severed hand found in a park. Violence appears often---a common response to loud feedback? The weakest stories are non-fan Scott Mebus' "bull in the heather," where a lesbian buys a strap-on to save her relationship with bisexual Heather (the dildo is called "The Bull") and Shelley Jackson's "my friend goo," which tries too hard to be abstract.

Use Noise as an intro to new authors or as an excuse to listen to an old band. And musicians, remember that a song title can spawn a thousand words.

Add a comment

Remember, it's entirely possible to disagree without spiralling into a thread of negativity and personal attacks. We have the right to remove (and you have the right to report) any comments that go against our policy.

xxx - Deprecated in favor of GTM, above.