I finished my novel, Song of Songs, about three years ago. No one really noticed. It remains unread, excepting a few close friends. I didn’t expect anything else. This is a novel I wrote to please myself. It is not designed for casual consumption, although it is not difficult to read.
My next novel will completely change the context of this sequel, so it is a novel that will be enjoyed more than once.
The richness of Song of Songs, the complexity that makes it a serious piece, is a deliberate commentary on the arts of music and literature. I intended this novel for literary analysis. The reader I actually expect to delight is someone who loves the art of story-telling. The narration, for me, is the ultimate element of literature. I’m using music to narrate a story about music.
The people I know assume this is a personal novel, because it involves events that I experienced. But it is not about me, any more than Moby Dick is about Melville. Song of Songs is not autobiographical. It is a highly structured work of art.
It is about me, in the sense that it is written in my vernacular. Most of my fiction is not, because I love playing with narrative voice. But this voice is really mine.
Let’s begin with the title: Song of Songs.
This is a novel about music. It is about reflection. It is about repetition. It is about layers. It is about vague ideas. It is about little stories and beautiful phrases. It is about vignettes, portrait, scenes and laughter. It is about sex and asexuality and lust and relationships. It is about genres and expression. It is about people and their music. Not the canned music of professionals, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but about the music that pours out of ordinary schmoes in the late nights of suburban bars. The songs they live and feel.l
The most obvious allusion is to the Song of Solomon. Usually read symbolically by Christians as representing Christ’s love for his church, it is on the surface a very poetic piece about sensual love. Structure and language of the novel arises from this dichotomy.
Song also refers to an epic, as in Song of Roland. My novel is an epic poem of sorts – and had that form in one draft – structured and using language from the Odyssey and Ulysses.
But mostly, Song of Songs is a song, structured musically, using musical tools to bring the story to our mind’s ears.
The novel is a song about songs using songs as a language and alluding to songs.
And yet, it’s a bumping good ride. Enjoy.
Song of Songs by Lord Malinov is available on Amazon.