Classic works of fiction from the singer and author’s library.
Vocalist and songwriter Suzzy Roche is known to folk-rock fans for her legendary performances with sisters Maggie and Terre Roche in their eponymous trio. Her debut novel, Wayward Saints, spins the story of an almost-famous musician who returns to her hometown to perform at her old high school — a wry and wise meditation on the past and its hold on us. We asked Suzzy Roche to recommend three favorite books, and she responded, “This task almost put me right over the edge. Very hard to choose. I decided to go with the three that I have re-read the most.” Below, a snapshot of the singer’s bookshelf.
By Larry McMurtry
“Eight hundred and some pages of pure magic. It’s as if the bones of these characters are actually strewn across the Wild West, enriching the very dirt this country is built upon. What can I say? The book arouses my patriotism. You can’t help but fall in love with everybody on these pages, even the bad guys. The characters have nothing to go on but what is right in front of them: the natural wonder of a world they barely understand. (Sound likes life to me.) Whether we’re with the wind-whipped cowboys, the heartbroken whores, the lost Mexicans, or the exiled and downright mean Blue Duck — it’s the ultimate horseback ride into existentialism. A masterpiece.”
By Toni Morrison
“‘124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children.’ These are the opening lines of the story of Beloved. When a baby has venom, we know we’re about to hear a new kind of truth. It’s clear we’re into a tale of motherhood, childhood, and family never before told. To me, Beloved is a musical book, sung from the depths of ghosts’ souls. Full of melodic lines and syncopated rhythms, it’s a symphony of voices wailing about the brutality of slavery, and the endurance of the human spirit. A fierce and brilliant lament.”
By Graham Greene
“Whenever I get the blues, I pick up this book. In fact, one of the epigraphs (from Dante) is: ‘I did not die, yet nothing of life remained.’ A famous, broken architect of cathedrals, whose life has lost meaning and for whom anonymity has become a final passion, winds up at a leper colony working side-by-side with a relentlessly dedicated doctor. A Burnt Out Case is an unsentimental examination of the end of the road, literally and spiritually. The doctor is in a crisis of science, the architect, a crisis of faith. Leprosy, a disease of deformity and mutilation, is the backdrop for this heartbreaking story of how one man finds peace through humility and, ultimately, service. Practically every sentence is austere and painful, but it makes me want to live. To me, it’s a perfect book.”