A Chamber Novel for Narrator, Musicians, Pantomimists, Dancers & Culinary Artists

Fiction - Literary
1021 Pages
Reviewed on 10/03/2018
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Author Biography

Gary Lloyd Noland (AKA Dolly Gray Landon & Lon Gaylord Dylan) grew up in a crowded house shared by ten people on a plot of land three blocks south of UC Berkeley known as People's Park, which has distinguished itself as a site of civic unrest since the late 1960s. As an adolescent, Gary lived for a time in Salzburg and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where he absorbed many musical influences. Having studied with a long roster of acclaimed composers and musicians, he earned his Bachelor's in music from UC Berkeley in 1979, continued studies at the Boston Conservatory, and transferred to Harvard University, where he added to his credits a Masters and a PhD in Music Composition in 1989.

Gary's catalogue consists of hundreds of works, which include piano, vocal, chamber, experimental, and electronic pieces; full-length plays in verse, "chamber novels" and other text pieces; as well as graphically notated scores. His compositions have been performed and broadcast (including on NPR) in many locations throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia, and Australia. He founded the Seventh Species concert series in San Francisco in 1990 and has, since, produced multiple concerts of contemporary classical music on the West Coast. Gary is also a founding member of Cascadia Composers, one of the premier composer collectives on the West Coast. Gary has taught music at Harvard and the University of Oregon.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Jagdlied by Dolly Gray Landon is a multifaceted novel about a wealthy heiress, socialite, and trust-fund diamond-digger debutante named Melody. Intending for Jagdlied to be acted out and enjoyed with the accompanying illustrations and musical scores, Landon's alter egos - Gary Lloyd Noland and Lon Gaylord Dylan – contributed to Landon's satirical and (aptly) self-described “chamber novel” with symphonic compositions and comic-strip style images. Throughout, Landon writes a narrative that follows Melody, the protagonist and anti-heroine, as she navigates everything from business to broken hearts, and courtrooms to carnivals.

In the interests of full disclosure, I would like to state that I used a text-to-speech feature and had Jagdlied read to me so I might take in this book the way that Dolly Gray Landon intended, and follow along with the illustrations. The links to the author's original music compositions on YouTube are also provided and having the narrative read to me made the scores easy to play on cue. My personal favorite song was Mumbo Gumbo (Op. 71, No. 1), which gave me the biggest smile ever with a Ragtime meets Flight of the Bumblebee rhythm. Jagdlied is everything it sets out to be and the creative genius of Landon is delivered at full throttle. In short: I loved this book. It's a wholly unique concept but I was able to grasp it easily and look forward to any opportunity to act this out with my most open-minded friends; those who have the same scruples as myself...which is none. No scruples, whatsoever. Highly recommended!

K.C. Finn

Jagdlied is a work of arts-based literary fiction by a team of creators: author Dolly Gray Landon, musician Gary Lloyd Noland and graphic designer Lon Gaylord Dylan. The text calls itself “A Chamber Novel for Narrator, Musicians, Pantomimists, Dancers & Culinary Artists”, which means that whilst the text can be read as a standard book, Jagdlied provides the opportunity for artists, creators, performers, musicians and the like to expand on the story and present it in much more theatrical terms. The tale itself is a wild ride where a wealthy young woman finds her undoing, but the plot goes far beyond this single girl, ranging between sick-lit, grotesque, surrealist and absurd themes.

Ultimately, I didn’t really know what to make of this book as a single reader, other than the fact that it definitely kept me reading! I think the concept of treating the plot of Jagdlied with a wider artistic series of tools is an excellent idea, and I could certainly see the wild and absurd moments of the story enticing and inspiring spontaneous performance. The explicit content will not suit all readers, and I’d definitely say this is a niche read for artists of all kinds looking for something unexpected to create. Overall, author Dolly Gray Landon, musician Gary Lloyd Noland and graphic designer Lon Gaylord Dylan have created an explosive collection of content that will certainly get creative minds going, even if the reasons why are somewhat unclear! Jagdlied is an intriguing read, but not for the faint of heart.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Jagdlied by Dolly Gray Landon, Gary Lloyd Noland, and Lon Gaylord Dylan is a chamber novel that reads like a comic thriller complete with musical sidebars and graphics. The princess, more of a teenage heiress who thinks she is entitled to a huge inheritance, is about to be brought down to earth with a very large bump. Follow Melody on a sadomasochistic farcical journey as she learns some hard truths about life, love and whatever comes in between. This is aimed at adults only and, although you can read it as a novel, it is best with the music added in.

Jagdlied was one of those “oh my gosh!” books. I have given nothing away in this review because I believe it is best experienced for oneself! As a quick side note, for those who aren’t quite so keen of eye, the three contributors to this book are, in actual fact, one and the same person – the names are simply anagrams of one another. With that out of the way, where to start? This is most definitely an adult only book, not just because of some of the scenes in it but because of the entirely colorful and strangely eclectic mix of words used. This is a book that is full of words – the first paragraph gives it away – some of them used properly, others not so!

This is a very complex and long book, not for an amateur reader. The plot is totally outlandish, the graphics somewhat lewd in places and, to be honest, I found it a hard read. I don’t deny the genius of the author but I admit to getting somewhat lost in places, even with the music to help. It is an incredibly complex but creative book and there is no denying the cleverness and the constant plays on words.