Our Favorite Fictional Musicians

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

You know that song you just can’t get out of your head? What if it’s a whole book? To celebrate our love of music here at Quirk Books, we’ve rounded up our favorite fictional musicians and the books they call home. Get ready to rock!


Rabbit Hatmaker from Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Hundreds of high school musicians have flooded the Bellweather Hotel’s crumbling halls for the annual Statewide festival, but we’re going to choose favorites and declare our love for Bertram “Rabbit” Hatmaker. As the quieter Hatmaker twin, Rabbit not only has to face the quintessential challenge of distinguishing himself from his sister Alice during this critical weekend away from home, he also has to impress the eccentric and renowned conductor Fisher Brodie. This shouldn’t be a difficult task; Rabbit is one of the most accomplished high school bassoonists in the state. But everyone at Statwide is the most accomplished something. And besides, you haven’t met Fisher. Or Alice. Oh and there was a murder at the Bellweather Hotel fifteen years ago. But that can’t possibly have anything to do with all the disappearances that are happening, right? Hang in there, Rabbit. We’re rooting for you.


The Traveling Symphony from Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The actors and musicians that make up Emily St. John Mandel’s Traveling Symphony live and die by the phrase “Survival is insufficient.” That may sound extreme for a group of touring musicians, but the characters in Station Eleven are living in a post-civilization world. And while the actors in the troupe are memorizing Shakespeare and trading roles between camps, the musicians are rehearsing songs that remind their audiences of what’s best about the world. Because when 99% of the population is destroyed by a flu epidemic, we’re happy to see a handful of musicians have survived. No, not survived. Endured.


Chris Paulson from A Song To Take The World Apart by Zan Romanoff

Zan Romanoff’s mesmerizing A Song To Take The World Apart feels like a piece of music itself. The humming third person narration, the constant dissecting of unknown – it’s enough to make us break into song. Luckily Chris Paulson is there with his guitar to accompany the novel from first chord to encore. And Chris? He’s aloof, but it reads as mysterious. Manipulative, but he cares. At least that’s what Lorelei tells herself. Until she can’t let the music simmer inside her for any longer. Lorelei’s Oma warned her never to sing. But it can’t hurt to try just once. Right?


Scotty Hausmann from A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

In Jennifer Egan’s electrifying non-linear novel, we see Scott Hausmann go from guitarist for The Flaming Dildos to washed up and bitter to solo artist, though not necessarily in that order. But Scotty’s isn’t the only musician featured in A Visit From the Goon Squad – just the most memorable with his dead fish and attempts to stay relevant in a changing landscape. Music is such an important character in A Visit From the Goon Squad that you can practically feel the novel pulsing as you read it. And Jennifer Egan felt the same. She even put together a chapter-by-chapter playlist to accompany the reading experience.