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Dana Spiotta's fake album art imagined at emusic

August 30, 2011 | 11:59 am

ThefakesalbumcoverDana Spiotta's novel "Stone Arabia" has been getting rave reviews, including one from Times critic David L. Ulin. He describes the premise: "The story of Nik Worth, nearly 50, a former rock 'n' roll wunderkind who dropped out of sight but continued to make music, 'Stone Arabia' is a novel of obsession -- although whose obsession is not always clear. There's Nik but also his sister Denise, who narrates much of the book and offers a necessary counterpoint to his interior fantasies...."

Nik's music-making is accompanied by his equally avid myth-making. He creates scrapbooks for his imaginary bands, writes reviews, both positive and negative, of their shows and albums. He creates album art for records that are never released, only circulated among a few friends. In "Stone Arabia," Spiotta creates excerpts of Nik's writing but leaves his meticulous artwork to the imagination.

The imagination of, it turns out, a number of artists recruited by emusic. "We commissioned five of our favorite artists to design album covers for five of Nik’s biggest albums," writes emusic audiobooks editor Maris Kreitzman. "The results are as creative and brilliant and eccentric as Nik himself."

Spiotta provides commentary on the album covers. "There is something perfect about the sneer of the title and the rudeness of the frog," she writes of Alex Eben Meyer's imaginging of the record "Take Me Home and Make Me Fake It." "The title is self-deprecating and aggressive, and somehow the frog in bunny ears hits it exactly right."

The artists make real three of Nik's imaginary bands -- imaginary twice-removed, because Nik is, of course, fictional. There are album covers for the poppy band the Fakes, the more introspective Nik Worth and the serious, challenging band the Demonics. All have a vintage feel, as Nik was creating his albums over the years, but also look like you might stumble across them in a contemporary record store.

For that to happen, someone would have to take Nik's songs, as they're described in the book, and actually record them. Will fiction stretch that far into reality?


Dana Spiotta writes firmly in the moment

Dana Spiotta: Online Q&A

Book review: 'Stone Arabia' by Dana Spiotta

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Image: Artwork created for the Fakes album "Take Me Home and Make Me Fake It." Credit: Alex Eben Meyer / emusic.