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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Strange fruit and creepy conversations

Just done w/chapters 1-3 of American Gods. I had forgotten how creepy that book is.


At the top of the list of creepy things right now? Shadow's Bone Orchard dream, which is more disturbing to me than the nonchalant conversation he has with Laura, his recently-dead wife. The dream itself is not a happy one, and the sense of wrongness is compounded by what I'm pretty sure is a reference to Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit." (WARNING: the photograph of the lynching that inspired the poem that became the song is on the page linked.) Strange fruit is a hauntingly beautiful indictment of one of the ugliest pieces of US history. The last verse, in particular, in sticking with me as I read AG tonight: 
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck, 
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, 
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, 
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

While the context is different, it is relevant to what's happened (and what's to come) in several ways.

In other news, I'm making an American Gods playlist of the music in the book. My list so far:
  • "Nottamun Town" by Fairport Convention
  • "Masters of War" by Bob Dylan (Why? See here for details.)
  • "Iko Iko" by The Dixie Cups
  • "Walking After Midnight" by The Cowboy Junkies (Patsy Cline version in the book)
  • "Who Loves the Sun" by The Velvet Underground
  • "The Fool on the Hill" by The Beatles
  • "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday
  • "The Midnight Special" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

A fellow 1b1t-er has made an American Gods music spreadsheet (he's also got sheets for people and places).

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