Title: Jagdlied: a Chamber Novel
For Narrator, Musicians, Pantomimists, Dancers & Culinary Artists
Text by: Dolly Gray Landon
Music by: Gary Lloyd Noland
Graphic by: Lon Gaylord Dylan
Publisher: Gary L Noland
Genre: Literary fiction / Erotica / Thriller / Humorous
About the Book:
This musically and graphically enriched chamber novel is an over-the-top black and blue comic extravaganza about the conspiratorial undoing of a teenage entitlement princess. The story throbs throughout with an undercurrent of apocalyptic motifs related to the extinction of art, fall of empire, and coming of the Antichrist. It is an epic farce that reads like an erotically supercharged psychological suspense thriller. The narrative takes the reader/audient on a veritable boomerang roller-coaster ride (with multiple inversions) through a reputational strip-and-whiptease of the novel’s malignantly artful (albeit ingenuously doe-eyed) protagonist: a wealthy young heiress and socialite who boasts an exclusive claim to her progenitors’ munificent estate. Her inheritance comprises an immense fortune amassed through shareholder investments in the world’s largest employment recruiter: the multi-national temp agency behemoth known as the Pleasant Peasant Corporation.
The character-driven narrative of Jagdlied explores themes of jilted love, misinterpreted motives, paranoid ideations, bombastic egos, ghoulish envy, smoldering jealousy, unconscionable revenge ploys, extravagant public humiliations, ruthless power games, insatiable greed, pernicious corruption, feigned moral outrage from all sides, and even (Heaven forfend!) coldblooded murder—all the type of stuff pre-calculated to magnetize your run-of-the-thrill-seeking bookworms and bibliophiles.
A rich repository of tongue-in-cheek nonce words, malapropisms, neologisms, archaisms, spoonerisms, slanguage, and whole swaths of unintelligible nonsense, the text of Jagdlied is also replete with irreverently lurid, salacious, and scatologic elements, which serve to set it in motion as a formidable contender for the distinctive cachet of being regarded (by cultivated aesthetes of omnifarious persuasions) as a momentously serious dirty book. It is targeted towards percipient readers and audients in possession of a well-seasoned sick and—dare it be said—cruel batch of funny bones inflected with a gallows-cum-smoking-room bent.
Whilst the plot of this story (grotesquely absurd as it will undoubtedly be esteemed) embraces reflexively cringeworthy sadomasochistic motifs, its author would hesitate to instyle it as porn, yet he would not be wholly disinclined to characterize it as a farcical parody thereof. And whilst at the same time its author is admittedly predisposed to eschew ascribing labels of any kind to this opus (especially seeing as what he has concocted is so rarefied in its formal structure that it cannot be facilely pigeonholed), it may not be altogether off the mark to view it as a form of literary neurotica (if, indeed, there is such a genre) as opposed to the more boilerplate literotica—or what in sex nazi circles is dysphemistically adverted to (in no uncertain squirms) as “filth.”
Whilst the text of Jagdlied may be read in silence as a novel in the traditional sense, it is ultimately written for the purpose of being recited by a skilled elocutionist to the accompaniment of extemporized music by ad hoc variable ensembles in relatively brief, self-contained or—depending on how one looks at it—semi self-contained episodes with the aid of a do-it-yourself improvisation kit provided in its appendix. This “kit” is likenable to a Baroque-style table of ornaments, albeit comprehending specific sets of chance operations for each and every participant involved in renditions of individual fascicles of this work. Aside from entailing a professional narrator and musical extemporizers, the score discretionarily calls for pantomime actors, dancers (hence choreographers), set designers, culinary artists, and even members of the audience itself.
Five star review from Literary Titan
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
As a composer, I have been interested for many years in writing texts that can be narrated to extemporized music. I especially enjoy performing the texts at the piano with other musicians. What got me started writing (you ask)…? That would probably best be discussed in a private room with a disorders analyst. J
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
I function best early in the day but often continue well into the night. I am either at my screen or at the piano, depending on what creative activities I am involved in.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
The ideas, if there are any, emerge out of the creative process itself. I usually have to improvise at the piano or write something down in order to generate new material. My experience as a composer has had a profound impact upon my prose writing. Ideas are a dime a dozen. It is the skill, motivation, and stick-to-itiveness to develop them into polished, refined, and finished works of art that separates the sheep from the goats. I’ve encountered a lot of highly intelligent people with excellent ideas who are too effete and unmotivated to bring them to fruition, as if they imagined, somehow, that their ideas, in and of themselves, are tantamount to the end products. I once had a brief conversation with a well-known music theorist who said, “I could bang out a fugue everyday if I wanted to, but what would be the point?” Perhaps it was true, and if so, he was depriving the world of hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of fugues (whether they’d be good or not is anybody’s guess). Of course, there’s a difference between boasting one can do something and actually doing it. I can’t imagine this particular theorist will be eulogized for the thousands of fugues he “could” have written. I suppose I’m articulating the old one-percent-genius-99-percent-perspiration adage, so please excuse me if I’m beating a dead horse.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
To give an example: I began work on my chamber novel Jagdlied in 1991 with no intention other than to sketch out a salacious five- or six-page short story as a brief diversion from other more ambitious musical projects. It grew into a twenty-page story, at which point I decided to set it aside as a “completed” work, even going so far as to affix an opus number to it in my otherwise (mostly) musical oeuvre. I moved on to other projects. When I returned to the story about eleven years later, I was dissatisfied with what I had written. I felt the characterizations were flat and the use of language too bland and conventional to suit my tastes, so I performed some deeper edits and revisions on it until the piece transmogrified into a much more vivid novella of approximately 60 pages. A literary agent contacted me who was interested in promoting it but I didn’t take him up on it, as I didn’t feel it was ready to be released into the world. Only semi-satisfied with what I had written, I set the text aside for another eight-or-so years and, upon returning to it, assumed it might need some minor edits. Little did I realize then that I would be embarking upon the creation of a 230,000-word magnum opus containing 290 graphic scores, an elaborate system by which musicians could extemporize against the text while it’s being narrated, and over 100 YouTube links to performances of my compositions to lend further musical weight to the novel proper. To answer your question: I almost never know in advance exactly how a piece (whether literary or musical) will turn out. It happens, as you suggest, organically while it is being created. I learn more and more about the characters of a novel as the situations and dialogues are interpolated into its structure. My own life experiences inform the transmutation of a work’s gestalt. There are, as you know, many creative people who meticulously plan their works in advance of committing them to paper. That has never been my modus operandi.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I would like to believe that I have invented my own genre—the “chamber novel,” namely: a literary text that is the focal point, or thread, of a piece that holds all the other noise encompassing it (i.e., the music, choreography, pantomimicry, audience participation, etc.) together into a cohesive whole, wherewithout there would be naught but chaos and confusion. To answer your question more specifically, my writings may be classifiable as literary fiction. Whilst the texts are, indeed, influenced by many fiction genres, it is impossible to pigeonhole them into any single specific genre. I would like, however, to view these texts as a form of musical expression.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
I have been out of touch with films and television for many years. However, a more apropos question might be what dream cast of performing musicians I would envision for the realization of my chamber novel. In a perfect world I would enlist piano improvisers on a par with Robert Levin, Gabriela Montero McElroy, Frederic Rzewski, Uri Caine, or Marc-André Hamelin (among others) to perform musical commentaries to the text in real time while it’s being narrated. Will Self, Steven Pinker, John Oliver, or Seth MacFarlane would make, I believe, excellent elocutionists. Of course, any well-trained actor who knows and understands the text and can recite it with fluency and depth would be more than welcome to perform it. I’m not certain that this would be the right sort of book for a Hollywood film, as it doesn’t fit the mold. I could, however, imagine a serious director like Lars von Trier or Terry Zwigoff producing a film based on my text. I would entrust them to choose the actors.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I have loved reading since I was young but was never formally trained in English Literature. My academic training is in Music. The writers I most admire are not necessarily the ones whose books I most enjoy reading. I feel great admiration for Will Self, who can be difficult at times. I think Alexander Theroux is, arguably, one of the best living American writers, notwithstanding that, for unfathomable reasons, his works have failed to find a place into the literary canon. David Hirson is a brilliant playwright, but has only written two plays I know of. Of course, one would be hard-pressed not to admire David Foster Wallace, whose career trajectory skyrocketed after his suicide. I could jabber on and on about writers who have moved and influenced me in various ways…
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
My reading habits are less organized than when I was younger. I dip into dozens of books at a time, with the intention of eventually reading everything (unless they are intolerably turgid, dull, or badly written). At the moment I am reading “Cult X” by Fuminori Nakamura, “My Favorite Thing is Monsters” by Emil Ferris, “Walking to Hollywood” by Will Self, “King Leopold’s Ghost” by Adam Hochschild, “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell, “The Plot Against America” by Phillip Roth (to name a few).
9: What is your favourite book and why?
That’s a difficult question. It’s a relatively rare book that knocks my socks off, although it has happened on occasion. Many of the following works may seem like obvious clichés, as one would necessarily assume they are universally acknowledged: Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Orwell’s 1984 (and a lot of his lesser known fiction & essays), John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces (which I read over thirty years ago and which, upon re-reading it years later, disappointed me somewhat, as the writing itself was not quite as sharp and incisive as I had remembered it, which is not to disparage the writer’s talent in any way), virtually everything by Kafka, some works by Kobo Abe, Kazuo Ishiguro, Stanislaw Lem, and many others. One novel that bowled me over and convinced me, upon reading it, that it was one of the greatest novels in the English language, was Alexander Theroux’s Darconville’s Cat (an opinion shared by Anthony Burgess). Theroux’s more recent (2007) novel Laura Warholic (a 700+ page tome) is also intoxicatingly subversive but not as well known as Darconville’s Cat, probably on account of its being sloppily edited in a few places, which doesn’t diminish the fact that there is quotable material in virtually every paragraph of the text. I love David Hirson’s play La Bête, which was panned by the critics on its initial release in 1991 but later received loud critical acclaim when it was revived internationally some twenty years later. As a composer, I am partial to Christopher Miller’s Sudden Noises from Inanimate Objects. His other books aren’t bad either.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
I am not one to offer advice but to solicit it. “Blind leading the blind,” etc.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
You can go to my Twitter account, where I occasionally post performances of my music and text pieces (in particular, fascicles from my chamber novel Jagdlied): @species7th
Also, you can visit the Dolly Gray Landon Page I set up in Facebook, which is brand new: www.facebook.com/chambernovel.Jagdlied
I will be posting things there as well. Of course, my regular Facebook page is open to the public (as far as I am aware). I post my Youtube videos there on occasion: www.facebook.com/gnoland1
For information on the availability for purchase of the six released CDs of my musical compositions, go to: www.northpacificmusic.com
If you’d like to listen to one of my pieces (Grande Rag Brillante for piano) on the spot, check it out here:
About the Author:
I suppose I should make it known, to dispel any confusion that might arise, that I have chosen to employ as pen names two anagrams of my real name. I go by my actual name—Gary Lloyd Noland—as the composer, Lon Gaylord Dylan as the illustrator of graphic scores, and Dolly Gray Landon as the author of the text of Jagdlied. I do this in part because American culture has a peculiar incapacity to accept a creative artist wearing more than one hat.