Best Of 2012, Guest Editors: Christopher O’Riley On Stona Fitch’s “Senseless”

As 2012 comes to an end, we are taking a look back at some of our favorite posts of the year by our guest editors.

Perhaps best known for the NPR series From The Top, musician Christopher O’Riley is far more in-tune with music than most of the world. Not only does he host and mentor young musicians, O’Riley also transcribes and arranges songs by Radiohead, Arcade Fire and more for the piano and, more recently, the cello. O’Riley has just released a new album with cellist Matt Haimovitz, Shuffle.Play.Listen. (Oxingale), a tribute to contemporary composers and some of the most modern musicians. Owing to his virtuosic abilities and interesting outlook, we invited O’Riley to guest edit this week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.

O’Riley: Senseless is the darkest, most brutal hostage/torture narrative one can imagine. (Though, philosophically, and only though the thorough and empathetic characterizations wrought at Stona Fitch’s able hands that one is wholly and disparately aligned with the captive and his captors.) His most famous novel, speaking of hands, is Give + Take, is essentially about a touring jazz pianist who in his off hours robs jewels and riches and just as swiftly and anonymously bestows the deftly gotten gains to a worthy charity. And in that spirit, Fitch’s most extraordinary and ongoing contribution is through his Concord Free Press, a publisher that gives away its books, with the suggestion that when one passes on the book to someone else, one makes a charitable donation to a charity or person in need. A complete re-thinking of the function of publishing, or the currency and current accorded the written word.

Video after the jump.