In a Fugue State

August 2, 2017 | 4

“Could I write a novel about fugues in the form of a fugue?” Margot Singer wonders in The Paris Review, remembering the process of writing her first novel and considering other authors – JoyceNabokovWoolf – who have tried to compose words musically. See also: our own Jacob Lambert on whether to write with background music on.

is social media editor at The Millions. She lives in Brooklyn where she's currently working on her first novel. Find her online @kirstinbutler, and of course, on The Millions‘ feeds.


  1. Beamish!

    Well-read you are! I went off AB but 15 years ago I read (and owned) almost every novel (and a few books more) he’d written. Something in Earthly Powers irritated me and the spell was broken… and I must admit I never finished “Napoleon Symphony” (is that the book, or one of the books, you mean?), which was slyly… embarrassingly? dedicated to Kubrick. The problem with AB’s “musical writing” (that is, writing prose to mimic musical effects): you can’t really produce parallel constructions, for the reader, in Lit… there’s no polyphony. You have to make do with Gregorian chants!

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