Author Playlists

Victoria Kielland’s Playlist for Her Novel “My Men”

“The playlist is called SKRIV, which in Norwegian means WRITE, an imperative, a call to just get it done: This book must be written, and you must write it.”

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Victoria Kielland’s novel My Men, about a female serial killer, is the rare quiet literary thriller that haunts with its lyricism and exquisitely wrought characters.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

“Kielland’s dense, lyrical novel offers both insight and opacity … Despite the subject matter, this novel is not your typical thriller. The language, in Searls’ translation, is dense, poetic, and deeply figurative.”

In her own words, here is Victoria Kielland’s Book Notes music playlist for her novel My Men:

This playlist became the epitome of Belle while I was writing the novel, in the five years it took. The playlist gradually filled up with more and more songs over time, until eventually it became a kind of multifaceted portrait of a woman on the brink of the cliff. Of Belle Gunness. A modern and an old-fashioned version side by side. The playlist is a mash-up of music with lyrics and instrumental music. In particular, the Swedish musician Erik Enocksson has always been a great inspiration when it comes to finding moods in my writing. Or in just starting to write, it has always been incredibly fruitful to start listening to one of his albums. I think it is because his music has a ferocity that foregrounds the sacred and tactile no matter what kind of mood I happen to be in. Enocksson’s music has always been inspiring and monumental to me. If you put Enocksson side by side with some of today’s popular music, for example Britney, this playlist merges into an overarching soundtrack that mirrors My Men, in its present form.

The playlist is called SKRIV, which in Norwegian means WRITE, an imperative, a call to just get it done: This book must be written, and you must write it. And in a way it is that place from this particular soundtrack that I now often long to return to. And it is just that feeling I hope to convey to other listeners—the sense of hope inherent in such a command or imperative. That is the unique ability of pop music to lift a person out of themselves, and in that way, if only for a few awkward seconds, to let them be someone else. For me these songs help me to reach a place where I can be able to be a writer free from panic, anxiety and morality. Something beyond. A place where I think both the reader and the writer can float together in a sort of weightless moment of something completely new. A hopeful and melancholic place. At least that’s where I am now, after two years, these songs still speak to me, and sort of make me feel lost, lost somewhere beyond the intimate, beyond everything. And that is a good feeling and a bad feeling. Just as writing books is.

Victoria Kielland’s first book, the 2013 short prose collection I Lyngen (In the Heather) was shortlisted for the Tarjei Vesaas debutant prize. In 2016, Kielland’s first novel Dammyr (Marsh Pond) was shortlisted for the Youth Critics’ Prize and the literary committee of the Norwegian Authors’ Union awarded her the Norwegian Booksellers’ primary writer’s scholarship. My Men is her breakthrough novel, published to rave reviews in Norway in 2021, as well as a huge international success with more foreign sales.

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