The playlist

Music from and inspired by the book are included on this page.

Music was a part of writing this book. Music is also a big part of Louis’ multiple lives, and whilst the haunting tune that link his childhood with his confused adulthood will always remain somewhat of a mystery, other songs either directly or indirectly reflect certain key parts of the story or help to convey the story. Just like Louis’ music collection (and probably this author’s too, the whole thing is hopelessly eclectic and probably desperately uncool.

Author’s note: Read on with caution for spoilers beware.

  • Listen to the playlist on Spotify
Avril Lavigne


An easy choice because, well, Mr Tumnal’s life is, umm… complicated. I also like to think that the down-to-earth tomboyishness of the song nicely compliments that of Sarah in the novel. Maybe it’s the song she would choose to represent her father.


Carmen, Act II: Entr’acte

Music, and in particular flute music, plays a big part in Mr Tumnal’s life. This is not the tune that he finds lodged inside of his head but it’s something similar. It has the same power, the same majesty, and beauty as that tune. It was also the tune that was played by a friend at my wedding, just barely two weeks before I started writing this novel.

The Cardigans


I’ve always loved this song, ever since I first heard it on the soundtrack to Baz Luerman’s Romeo + Juliet. There’s an innocence to this track that just seems to completely gel with Louis and his relationship with Kathryn.

The Darkness

I Believe In A Thing Called Love

Louis has a weirdly eclectic taste in music. Mostly he favours classical music from his father’s record collection but in an effort to stay trendy he does own a bit of  ‘modern’ pop. It’s infectious. It doesn’t really do anything to make his music tastes any more credible.

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

You’re The One That I Want

Kathryn sings ‘mimes’ this to Louis as the band sing it at Beth’s birthday party. It’s during this song that Sarah and Caz look in through the windows and see Louis with some someone who’s not Sarah’s mother.

The Beautiful South

Song For Whoever

This song has a lot of girls names in it, and Louis has a lot of girls names in his address book. As his real and imaginary lives collide and fall apart I kind of feel that this song is somehow apt for whoever Louis actually is.

Arctic Monkeys

I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor

Another dance at Beth’s party I think. An excellent track for a cover’s band, and maybe one for when Kathryn has enticed Louis onto the dancefloor…

Vampire Weekend

Oxford Comma

The story takes place in a city that has so many similarities to Oxford. Words and literature are also not just important, but crucial, in the development of the story. And Kathryn works for a publishers very similar to the very one’s that invented the Oxford Comma, so this song had to be in it. If I could have a version where the line goes Who gives a f*** about the Wren Hoe Comma then believe me, I would!

Pet Shop Boys

Always On My Mind

Everything about this song screams of both Louis and Kathryn, and of Miss Leroy and Sarah. Miss Leroy uses her mind to control her life and her destiny and her subjects; Sarah is quite literally a figment of Louis’ imagination – and by that his mind; for Kathryn it would make much more sense for her to forget Louis and get on with her own, quiet life, but something has wriggled its way into the very centre of her mind; and for Louis, well for Louis, its all about his mind. Plus, its a damn good song.



…because Louis/Lewis is a dreamer? Right? Another song that I really can’t see him having in his own music collection, but isn’t that one of the things that Kathryn brings to his life? A much cooler, respectable soundtrack to his life?

The March Violets

Miss Amanda Jones

Louis’ story is laced with references to literature and pop culture. This song, a cover of The Rolling Stones’ original, is from the 1987 film Some Kind Of Wonderful. Louis loved this film, although exactly when he saw it is anyone’s guess. He must have sat alone and friendless in a darkened cinema and watched it. It’s from this film that his wife Amanda Jones is taken – plucked from the pages of a screenplay and made his one and only companion. If Louis’ wife looks a lot like Lea Thompson then this is the reason why.

The Police

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

Another cracking little 80s number, the clue is in the title. But who is the she is working the magic. Miss Leroy works magic, but in breaking down the imaginary world, so does Kathryn. Or is it Sarah? Amanda? I love that you can read it so many ways.

Nouvelle Vague

Ever Fallen In Love

I can imagine this song being the soundtrack to Louis and Kathryn’s joyful summer, walking in meadows, flying kites, taking photographs, sketching, and making up stories.


Turn Back Time

Time too, is a critical element of the story, and the idea that you can turn back time is one that both Kathryn and Louis cling to at times. Plus, the fact that it features in the film Sliding Doors could just make it another reference to popular culture.

Sixpence None The Richer

Kiss Me

A love song for Louis, or Kathryn. Is it a single kiss that Amanda needs to keep her husband? It’s a good song, and fits the mood.

The Monkees

Daydream Believer

Louis lives in his own world, and Lewis is the product of his social awkwardness and daydreaming. More than that, I just really like the song.

Huey Lewis & The News

The Power of Love

Who hasn’t seen Back to the Future, and found this to be an excellent song? It’s a classic, and both Louis and Kathryn love the old classics. I can hear this song as the background to Louis cycling across town to get to school.

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)

Considering that – or maybe in spite of – Louis’ life has not been his own since childhood, he has a happy life. Yes, he is lonely, and friendless, but he’s known no other life. He makes of it what he will and gets a lot of pleasure from his made up worlds. I guess that’s why he’s a creative? Sound like anyone you know…?

Nouvelle Vague

Love Will Tear Us Apart

The words might be the same but this version by the French band Nouvelle Vague is so different from Joy Division‘s original its like a completely different song.

Lily Allen

The Fear

A song that Kathryn might have chosen, or Sarah? …something more up to date in the music scene from the 80s tracks that informed Louis. There is a constant, haunting fear, that hangs every over just about all the characters in this book though. The fear of monsters, evil queens, the unknown, themselves… and fear of fear itself.


Life’s A Bitch

Now just where to start with this one? Any one of the characters in this story could sing this! Most obviously, Kathryn, when she discovers what Louis has been doing. Amanda too, though, when she realises her marriage is not what she thought; that her life is not what she thought. Sarah could sing it, left for a while as they only ‘grown up’ in her family. Louis too, could sing it, with a glass of whisky in one hand and Aardizzoni Bear in the other, unshaven and deflated in the lounge at Bevington House…


Every You Every Me

Quite an angry song this for when lives and relationship being torn apart. It’s urgent, and important. Louis needs Kathryn. Amanda needs Lewis. Sarah needs her mum and dad. Miss Leroy needs to be controlling all of them.

The Verve

Bitter Sweet Symphony

And after the urgency and the aggression, the calm reflection. Kathryn chasing trains, and driving the motorways to get to her loved one in time; over fences, through hedgerows, dodging faceless fairies in suits. It’s all there.

Arvo Part

Spiegel im spiegel

Even more contemplative still, this is a hauntingly beautiful, simple track for those moments of quiet reflection – and hope.

Lady Gaga

Born This Way

Quite a personal one, this. It’s a reminder that we are all different – we are all wired in different ways. It’s the thing that I do share with Louis/Lewis and explains why, in part, he has the life that he does.

Connie Francis

Lipstick On Your Collar

However much you like Lewis Tumnal, and I do hope that you do like him, you can’t escape from the fact that he has cheated on his wife, and his girlfriend. This is a great song though; fun and flirty. I can see Kathryn and Amanda joining forces to sing this as a duet to a helpless Louis.

High Contrast

The Long Way Home

The final denouement. A lot of this book was written during the summer of 2014, and the soundtrack to the London 2012 Olympics inspired a lot of the writing, and that’s where I got this track from.

David Holmes

I Heard Wonders

This is the final push. See Kathryn, chasing through the big gardens in the north of Wren Hoe desperate to reach Louis before its too late. It’s urgent, and inspiring, and energetic. On a personal note it fuelled the writing of much of the end. Picture me, in the summer of 2013, one year on from London 2012, sitting in the garden writing in the shade of an umbrella not even noticing the thunderstorm now surrounding me!

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