Original language: English
Original title: Intermission
Translation: Julia Ibarz
Year of publication: 2019
Valuation: quite recommended
You can see Bill Evans in the videos on YouTube. Looking somewhat taciturn, leaning almost insanely over the keyboard, focused on his music. One of those legends that, unfortunately, is being left behind, buried by time. Jazz may be cool but it doesn’t work for Tik Tok, its songs are usually long, hardly hummable and very rarely danceable. Another thing to regret in the future.
Owen Martell chooses for his first novel in English (until then he has published in Gaelic) to evoke a capital event in the musician’s life. Attention: this is not a novel about music, about the creative process, about the advent of fame. Interval It is, rather, a psychological speculation about a certain almost reduced, one-person underworld, that of the musical genius who is suddenly faced with a tragic and unforeseen event. Scott LaFaro, double bassist for the emerging Bill Evans Trio, dies in a traffic accident. Evans, conscious in his self-absorption of his loss, takes refuge in himself and enters into a dynamic of mourning that is influenced by his condition as an artist who has lost a key element in his creative world. The family protects him while the musician only increases his isolation. His addictions are no help either.
Martell uses this material to compose a story in which the different elements of Evans’ environment conspire, without orchestration or planning, so that the artist goes through that situation. Without pressure, without harassment, understanding that the scenario after the tragedy has an overwhelming condition, that the delicate emotional state of the musician makes it even more special. All of this may be a pure literary speculative journey, but both the structure of the novel and the progression of its parts make it a more than remarkable experience and I would even dare to say that it is a unique work that is set in a little traveled terrain (is there any?) between speculation, metafiction, psychological story and a certain freshness, free, improvised and creative that is very appreciated.