Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Neko Case is Chanelling Flannery O'Connor?

I was reading from The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor last night, and I finished this one called 'Enoch and The Gorilla'. It's about a young man named Enoch who follows a traveling gorilla sideshow, and of course, the "gorilla" is only a guy in a suit. Enoch decides to steal the gorilla suit, but I'm still not sure if he killed the actor inside it.

Anyway, I've been reading these stories, and they're all pretty dark and funny, proving why O'Connor is the 20th century's foremost Southern gothic writer. I've also been listening to a lot of Neko Case lately. Well, I'm always listening to Neko Case. That's nothing noteworthy, really.

I don't know if it's just because I've been reading these stories while simultaneously digesting Case's work (including her new album) but I've drawn some paralells. Case sings in such a way -- with that raw alto voice -- that I imagine sounding something like Flannery O'Connor. I don't mean that O'Connor would sound like Neko Case. It's just that her voice seems to embody O'Connor's gothic presence. Then I look at the subjects of Case's songs: deadly car accidents, serial killers, ghost stories, finding dead birds, losing fingers in a cannery. All pretty dark, sometimes funny, and provoking in a way that makes you really think about human nature.

Sounds a lot like Flannery O'Connor's stories.

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