Tonight’s Pick: Wesley Stace reads from his new novel at the Free Library Of Philadelphia
Wesley Stace, known to many as John Wesley Harding, will be at the Free Library Of Philadelphia tonight to read from his new book of historical fiction, Charles Jessold, Considered As A Muderer. Stace, who moved to Philadelphia in July, released the novel—his third—in February. The story, which takes place in England in the early 1900s, is a tale of murder and music: the book opens with the debut of Charles Jessold’s new opera, Little Musgrave, and—in a bizarre twist of events—Jessold murders his wife and her lover, then commits suicide. It is a macabre thriller, narrated through the words of Jessold’s music critic, friend, and collaborator, Leslie Shephard.
Stace recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“What this book is massively about,” Stace says, “is how criticism distorts art by reducing it to handy narratives that tell the story people like to hear.”
Tonight, Stace will read from his book and perform “Little Musgrave,” a folk song that he wrote and has said (via e-mail) is “central to the novel, and the reading sets it up quite well.”
Stace recently finished recording a new album with members of The Decemberists in Portland; the band, tentatively titled The Sound Of His Own Voice, has been an Artist-In-Residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Last May, Stace collaborated with poet Robert Pinsky and Bruce Springsteen at Farleigh Dickinson’s WAMFEST (Words And Music Festival). In May, Stace will collaborate with Josh Ritter, The Fiery Furnaces, Alejandro Escovedo, and several New York writers in another event (details TBD). Below, Eugene Mirman interviews Stace about his new book.
Wesley Stace reads from Charles Jessold, Considered As A Murderer with Daneil Levithan reading from his book The Lover’s Dictionary at 7:30 p.m. at the Free Library Of Philadelphia (1901 Vine Street); the event is free.
Also playing: Simian Mobile Disco + Blondes, Dave P And Sammy Slice at The Trocadero (8 p.m., all-ages, $17)