Often, when I write a post about an issue in literature, I have a fair idea of the side I fall on. But for this one, I’m firmly undecided – let me explain. I was inspired to write this blog post after one singular train journey, over three years ago. I was sat for a couple of hours, and in order to switch off from the impending doom of A Level exams, I was reading a book for pleasure – Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk. Incidentally, a fantastic book you should definitely read, but that’s by the by. What actually inspired this post was the music I was listening to at the time.
Now if you’ve read my post about the reading environment I like to cushion myself in, you’ll know that I’m not someone who can have music blaring while I get into my literature. But this train was noisy, and to shut out the voices cutting through the row, I decided I’d put my iPod on. Lost! by Coldplay came on, which is incidentally, also a great song. If you’ve not heard it, give it a listen, because the lyrics are much necessary to my point.
Invisible Monsters is a book about a model who has her face blown off, who is coming to terms with her new identity, or lack thereof. I won’t provide a plot summary, because to do so would ruin a great book, but for me, the accidental appearance of Lost! on shuffle struck a chord (if you’ll excuse the pun.) I was reaching the end of the book, hungrily tearing through the last few chapters, and it really seemed to tie it up nicely. It was like it was the missing chapter.
The most interesting thing I find about the affinity that I found between Invisible Monsters and Lost! is that songs have actually been written about the book. Panic! At The Disco wrote one which I already knew about, ‘Time to Dance’, and it didn’t bear anything of the same resemblance to the mood I felt the book stood for. So I suppose, it just shows, interpretation really is up to us. Songwriters and novelists can do their best to get their point across, but the act of interpretation is always in our hands.
So really, what I’d love to know is have you had a similar experience? Do you feel like a song sums up your experience of a book, or anything else, like a play, a piece of music or a work of art? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Photo not owned by me – find it here