Thursday, April 28, 2022

Top ten books about performance – the lives of actors & musicians

Imogen Crimp studied English at Cambridge, followed by an MA in contemporary literature from University College London, where she specialized in female modernist writers. After university, she briefly studied singing at a London conservatory. She lives in London.

Crimp is the author of A Very Nice Girl.

At the Guardian she tagged ten "books that include scenes of musical or theatrical performance [and] often explore ideas of performance in a broader sense – the way we try on different identities or perform to conceal aspects of ourselves." One title on the list:
The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro

Ryder, a famous pianist, arrives in an unnamed European city to perform in a concert that he can’t remember agreeing to. He’s meant to be following a strict schedule of obligations, but has misplaced it, and the narrative unfolds with the bizarre logic of a dream; everyone he encounters waylays him, divulging their secrets and demanding his help, while he pretends to understand what’s going on. Ishiguro explores the social performance of politeness, the way this stops us from speaking or acting on our desires – and the longing for connection that lies underneath.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Unconsoled is among Jason Tougaw's twelve great books about the human brain and Robert McCrum's ten most difficult books to finish.

--Marshal Zeringue