Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wesley Stace, Considered as a Novelist

A couple days ago, I finished Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer -- an excellent novel set in England largely in the 1920s, in which on the first page we learn that an up-and-coming composer killed his wife, her lover and himself the night before his opera was set to open -- and then we look back as to why it happened. It's written by Wesley Stace, who is better known as the singer John Wesley Harding, and it's very assured and well-written: We keep returning to certain events with new knowledge, learning more and more of what actually happened. 

It's his third novel, and I'll be seeking out his others. Stace gave a reading at our local bookstore a couple months ago, and he performed the folk song, "Little Musgrave," that's at the heart of the novel (and the opera) -- it was really a magic moment. I found the song later on iTunes, on one of his live albums, and have been listening to it a lot.

Both the song and the novel are worth seeking out. In fact, here's Stace singing "Little Musgrave" on Sound Check.


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