Arts Desk

A Book I’d Read: The Good Inn by Black Francis

9780062220790

in which the author discusses a book he'd read, if time permitted.

Title: The Good Inn

Authors: Pixies frontman Black Francis, aka Frank Black, aka Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV, and Josh Frank, seemingly unrelated serial co-author and purveyor of "words and ideas for cash"

The Vibe: Surrealist

What It Is: A novel about pioneers of pornographic film living in fin de siècle Paris, plus illustrations

Quotable: "Across the dark, quiet countryside and over a sloping hill, thousands of twinkling lights blanket the horizon, causing the city to glow as though it is slowly being engulfed by low, warm flames. A newly built magnificent metal tower attempts to touch the sky, rising from the furnace below, drawfing the cobbled streets and outdoor cafes. This is Eiffel's tower. This is Paris."

Buyer beware: Nick Cave, Steve Earle, and Bob Dylan are among those guitar slingers who have followed Cervantes, the genius who penned Don Quixote in the 17th century, in their attempts to weave a few subjects, verbs and, occasionally, adjectives into that mystical art form known as the novel. Yet none seem to have left a footprint on the literary lexicon even halfway comparable to that of, say, Jane Austen or John Updike. Perhaps this is because the skill set required to pen hit tunes—haiku-like economy of expression, sloganeering, and good pants—is incompatible with that required to write, say, On the Road or The Goldfinch or even Flowers in the Attic.

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