Sabina Murray

“With each book I’ve written, there has been a companion piece of music. I listen to the song or composition cycle through on repeat until I’m in a sort of hypnotic state. This keeps me inspired. Sometimes the music is classical. Sometimes it’s not. For my last novel, which was about dictatorship, colonialism, and empire, I listened to the Cuarteto Casals recording of Boccherini’s La Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid. I alternated this with a selection of traditional Kalinga music, music from the northern region of the Philippines. A few bars in with either piece and I was back in the book, less in touch with my computer and my desk, more immersed in my characters and what they were dealing with. With my novel Valiant Gentlemen, which focused on the friendship of two Victorian adventurers, I listened to the first two tracks of the soundtrack from the 1999 film Ravenous, which is a horror film about cannibalism—somehow it worked. The Pet Shop Boys’ “What Keeps Mankind Alive?” kept me going through three hundred pages of my second novel, A Carnivore’s Inquiry. The music I choose for each book is essential before I begin to write, and as I write. It stays with me even when the book is done.”
—Sabina Murray, author of The Human Zoo (Grove Press, 2021) 

Photo credit: John Solem
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Writer Photo Credit: 
John Solem

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  • August 11, 2021