Listen: On Music, Sound and Us

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Oct. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781335000620. $30. MUSIC
Novelist Faber’s (D: A Tale of Two Worlds) nonfiction book shows a parochial view of what various genres of music have to offer outside the author’s own preferences, which are inclined toward different ages of English rock. As much as there’s a thesis to the book, readers may find it hard to follow since musical taste is often not about music at all. Many times, people listen to it to fit in with their peers, to connect with people who like the same things. The author argues that classical musicians just play the notes, and there’s no room for interpretation, which some readers (certainly classical-music lovers) may find absurd. Many chapters do little to advance the topic, and 44 pages are devoted to interviews with musicians about their top-10 lists.
VERDICT The essays in this book don’t display the same attention to fine detail that made Faber’s novels a success. There’s rarely any serious explanation, just opinions, sometimes appallingly argued.
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