Listen by Michel Faber [6/10]

Michel Faber novels (not that I’ve read any, to my regret) have always struck me as bold and subversive, and this impression is more than confirmed by his latest memoir/nonfiction book that tackles a subject close to my heart: rock music appreciation. Listen: On Music, Sound and Us bravely stipulates, from the outset: “I’m not here to change your mind about Dusty Springfield or Shostakovich or Tupac Shakur or synthpop. I’m here to change your mind about your mind.” And the author, writing with refreshing openness and stylishness, proceeds exactly down that path, tackling all manner of listening-related subjects, from volume to genre to atonality to classical music to white bias. The book is a heady brew of energetic essays, each one enjoyable, although it can be difficult to discern a throughline of thought or even, sometimes, the relevance of a given essay to the book’s expressed central aims. The entire reading experience of Listen left me glad of the read but slightly nonplussed. Call it a quirky specialty book, then, one that will find the readers it should find.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *