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June 24, 2010

Book Notes - Marcy Dermansky ("Bad Marie")

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

Marcy Dermansky's second novel Bad Marie is delightfully dark, cuttingly funny, and elegantly written. Marie may be an unlikable protagonist, but seeing her world through her eyes is a fantastic, suspenseful, and truly unforgettable experience.

Bad Marie is one of the handful of books I am recommending to everyone as a clever, fast-paced, and enjoyable summer read.

Frederick Barthelme wrote of the book:

"Reading Marcy Dermansky’s Bad Marie is like spending a rainy afternoon in a smaller, older movie theater watching a charming French movie with a woman (or a man) you’ve just met on the street and already like far too much. It’s sinful in all the right ways, delicate, seditious, and deliciously evil."

In her own words, here is Marcy Dermansky's Book Notes music playlist for her novel, Bad Marie:

My playlist for writing Bad Marie: Scarlett Johansson's Anywhere I Lay My Head.

Poor Scarlett got creamed by reviewers for every imaginable reason -- for having no voice, for overmixing, for overdubbing, for desecrating the genius that is Tom Waits, for the very hubris of engaging in such a vanity project in the first place. Also, for not having the talent of Zooey Deschanel, another actress turned singer. (I do love She & Him, but that is besides the point.) Scarlett got beat up. Which did not matter to me, because I had a book to write.

I did not listen to this album just a little bit. Scarlett is ingrained in my brain. Bad Marie is not a long novel, just over 240 pages, but I probably wrote over 100 new pages with Anywhere I Lay My Head on repeat. I edited most of the book, too, listening – or more accurately, not listening.

Scarlett's throaty monotone is mesmerizing: the perfect musical score to tune out. I can't write specifically about a single individual song on the album, because I stopped hearing them. When I am writing, really writing, I don't want to hear music. I'm listening to the voices inside my head. The music becomes insulation from outside distraction.

Scarlett Johansson, it must be noted, would be an excellent choice for the film version of Bad Marie. She has the required bust; just as important, she's a fine actress. Flat and sardonic in Ghost World, dreamy and discontented in Lost in Translation. I even liked her in Woody Allen's Scoop.

She hasn’t asked my opinion, but I don't think Iron Man 2 is the best direction for her career. I see Scarlett in Bad Marie, taking baths and drinking whiskey, holding Caitlin's hand as they walk through the streets of Paris. I see a Best Actress Oscar nomination in Scarlett's future.

Marcy Dermansky and Bad Marie links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
the author's book tour events

Booklist review
Elle review
Genre Go Round Reviews review
Jordan Hoffman review

Blog Talk Radio interview with the author
Jacket Copy interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes music playlist by the author for Twins
Literary Kicks interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)

52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists