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Mark Oliver Everett: from Eels to bookshelves

October 16, 2008 | 12:04 pm

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Mark Oliver Everett may be best known for his work as E, the creative force of the band the Eels, which creates beautiful music, often beautifully sad. But now he may also be known for his personal history, for two reasons.

First, there's the memoir, "Things the Grandchildren Should Know." It was released in the U.S. this week, but came out in the UK in January. From Claire Armistead's review in The Guardian:

"I was born the son of a humble mechanic. A quantum mechanic," [Everett] writes. Unfortunately, his brilliant father was also a depressive, and the first real conversation they ever had took place moments before he died....I began this book knowing nothing of Eels and expecting it to be one for the fans; I finished it humming "Novocaine for the Soul" and suspecting I might now even be a bit of a fan myself.

There's also a documentary from the BBC; the newsletter VSL tells us it will air on PBS next week. It follows Everett as he traces the career of his father, theoretical physicist Hugh Everett III. "Mark retraces his father’s career, meeting friends and colleagues and conducting experiments designed to illustrate his father’s ideas," VSL writes. "But the story itself becomes more complex, and more compelling, as we learn more about the Everett clan. ('In her suicide note, she wrote that she was going off to meet her father in a parallel universe,' Mark says, recalling his late sister, Liz....)" YouTube has a short trailer of the documentary here.

Mark Oliver Everett will read from his memoir "Things the Grandchildren Should Know" at Skylight Books tomorrow night at 7:30pm. Who knows -- maybe he'll bring his guitar and give E a chance at the mic, too.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo of Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, via the Eels on MySpace

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