More to the Story: Janet Fitch

From the September/October 2006 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

Although Janet Fitch's Paint It Black, published this month by Little, Brown, is a work of fiction, the author drew inspiration from many genres, most notably poetry, while she was working on her follow-up to White Oleander (Little, Brown, 1999). We asked the best-selling author to cite the movies, music, artwork, and, of course, literature that she turned to during the course of writing her new novel. Paint It Black is the story of a teen runaway and denizen of the '80s punk rock scene in Los Angeles who struggles to come to terms with her art student boyfriend's suicide, and her resulting relationship with his mother, a renowned concert pianist.

"Altarwise by Owl-Light" (1936), "Love in the Asylum" (1946), "Over Sir John's Hill" (1949), and "In Country Sleep" (1951) by Dylan Thomas
"Riding the Elevator into the Sky" (1975) by Anne Sexton
"Burnt Norton" (1936) and The Waste Land (1922) by T. S. Eliot
Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of the Little Jeanne de France (1913) by Blaise Cendrars
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898) by Oscar Wilde
The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (1991), translated by Ivan Morris
The 13 Clocks (1950) by James Thurber
"The Fall of the House of Usher" (1840) by Edgar Allan Poe
The Sound and the Fury (1929) by William Faulkner
We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk (2001) by Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen

Punk rock music (circa 1980) in Los Angeles: X, the Germs, the Cramps
Horses (1975), Easter (1978), and Wave (1979) by Patti Smith
"These Days" and "Fairest of the Seasons" (1967) by Nico
Tidal (1996) by Fiona Apple
Brahms's late piano compositions
Pierrot Lunaire (1912) by Arnold Schönberg
Claude Debussy
Louis Armstrong and the Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, Lucille Bogan, Big Bill Broonzy, Ida Cox, and Bessie Smith (1920s)

Sunset Boulevard (1950) by Billy Wilder
Chelsea Girls (1966) by Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol
Ciao Manhattan (1972) by John Palmer and David Weisman
Last Tango in Paris (1972) by Bernardo Bertolucci

Paintings by Egon Schiele and Eric Fischl
Pavel Tchelitchew's drawings

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