Wesley Stace Bedside
Recording under the name John Wesley Harding, English singer/songwriter Wesley Stace has fifteen pop and folk albums under his belt. His debut novel, Misfortune, the story of a 19th century boy orphan raised as a girl, has just been published to critical acclaim. Stace, 39, spoke to freelance writer Dylan Foley by telephone from his home in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Q. What books are you reading now?
I am not always reading a lot of contemporary fiction. One of my favorite book and the book to read now is Hadrian VII. It’s by Baron Corvo, whose real name was Frederick Rolf. It’s in a nice, new paperback edition by New York Review Books. “Hadrian” is an important book right now. Rolf was an eccentric English Catholic, who was thrown out of the Catholic Church. The book is about his fantasy of being chosen as pope. At the beginning of the novel, he’s sitting in his living room, saying how annoyed he is with the world. He goes to Rome and is picked as pope by some strange turn of events. It is a great book to read right now because of the pope’s death, and it has some of the most purple prose of any book ever written.
Another writer I love is Patrick Hamilton. He wrote the movies “Rope” and "Gaslight.” He is a fantastic novelist. It turns out that nobody reads him now, but he has one great novel, “Hangover Sqaure,” about a schizophrenic. I am reading his trilogy, which is called “Twenty-Thousand Streets Under the Sky.” His world is a world of thwarted dreams in the 1920s and ‘30s. His writing is phenomenally good.
There is a modern novel I’ve really been enjoying called “How to Be Lost,” by Amanda Eyre Ward. It is a funny and moving book of a family haunted by the kidnapping, disappearance of one of three sisters. I think it is a terrific novel.