Wednesday, February 6, 2013 |
1. Loreena McKennitt, She Moved Through the Fair
"It seems to me that the strange, almost mystical minor tone of the music is like the tone of this book. And the lyrics describe at least one version of the state of being 'away' as in 'called away to another world.' But the whole tone of the song (which is ancient Irish traditional) is eerily and seductively trance-inducing."
2. Sinéad O'Connor, I Am Stretched on Your Grave
"This was an anonymous poem (translated from the Irish, likely by the wonderful Frank O'Connor) that, along with other ancient and anonymous Irish poems, I read often while I was writing Away. I chose the song because I like the way she worked with tradition, taking from it what she needed and then taking her own risks with the material. That, to me, sums up what I was trying to do in this book. I was working with myth and history but I wanted to break apart even my own expectations of what myth and history could deliver in a book. And, of course, listening to this, I think of my first character Mary/Moira who, in a sense, was truly stretched on someone's grave."
3. Martha Wainwright, Proserpina
"Proserpina, sung by Martha Wainwright (and written by the late and so wonderfully great Kate McGarrigle), is a song that made me think of Away the very first time that I heard it (obviously long after I had written the book). This, I think, is because in some essential way, Away is about mothers and daughters, about the separation of mothers and daughters, and about the grief that attends that separation. About Eileen, who grows up without her mother because her mother, like Proserpina's mother, inhabits a primeval, organic, nature-driven world. And, of course, with regard to narrative, this great last song of Kate McGarrigle's mythical in origin."