Mountain Goats’ leader John Darnielle will have his first novel, “Wolf in White Van,” published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux this year at the end of September.
Here’s the description of the book on Amazon:
Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move.
Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of “Trace Italian”—a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail—Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America.
Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, and are explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called on to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tracing back toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.
Brilliantly constructed, Wolf in White Van unfolds backward in time until we arrive at both the beginning and the climax: the event that has shaped so much of Sean’s life. Beautifully written and unexpectedly moving, John Darnielle’s audacious and gripping debut novel is a marvel of storytelling brio and genuine literary delicacy.
-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news —
So Modern Farmer magazine gets John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats on the phone to talk about — goats. I mean the entire interview — goats! At one point the interviewer asked John why no songs about goats on any of The Mountain Goats’ albums.
“No, no. I mean — it’s just the band name,” Darnielle said. “And it’s kinda interesting to me, that we’re talking about the animal. I don’t think people ask Deerhoof all the time about deer or about their hooves. They get off scot-free. From the minute I named this band, everyone was like, ‘Mountain Goats? Oh my God!’ And animal names in rock bands are so common. I mean, the Beatles.”
There is some music talk, but in the context of — goats!
Darnielle is something of a metal, and death metal, expert. He wrote an entire book (OK, it wasn’t that long, but still) about Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. At one point Darnielle is asked why he thinks “goats get featured so often in both metal and Satanic imagery?”
“Heavy metal takes that tradition from Satanist and I wanna say, maybe, Kabbalistic traditions,” Darnielle said. “The goat in mythology, initially, is sacrificed. You have the old Biblical sacrifice. The community murders a goat in expiation for some wrong or another. So if you’re going up against that ideology, than you would champion the thing that got killed for no reason, which is why Satanism and anti-Christian people — which a lot of heavy metal is anti-Christian — would say, ‘Hey, we’re pro-goat.’ And I side with the metal people, [who say] animal sacrifice is nonsense.”