Soundtrack for The Sabotage Café, a novel by Joshua Furst

The first thing you should know about The Sabotage Café is that it takes place in Minneapolis. Every scene in the book is affected by the mixture of stoic endurance and landlocked despair that makes the upper Midwest such a complicated, moody place.

The next thing you should know is that the story is narrated by a woman, Julia, who came of age in the heyday of the 80s DIY punk scene. Her daughter, Cheryl, has run away. Though Julia has no means of contacting Cheryl, she uses what limited knowledge she can gather to piece together the facts of her daughter’s new life. So, though the story is in large part about Cheryl, the soundtrack is Julia’s: shambling (mostly) 80s, (mostly) Minneapolis punk with an over-representation of slow, slit-your-wrists songs.

While putting this list together, I’ve tried to build an arc that mirrors the storyline. If you were to make a mixed tape of the songs below and listen to it straight through, you’d experience the same disturbances and heartaches and killer hangovers that the book depicts.

  • Aching to Be – The Replacements
  • Hanging Downtown – The Replacements
  • I Don’t Care About You – Fear
  • Corona – The Minutemen
  • Bastards of Young – The Replacements
  • Lost in the Supermarket – The Clash
  • Never Talking to You Again – Hüsker Dü
  • Too Drunk to f*ck – The Dead Kennedys
  • I Apologize – Hüsker Dü
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
  • Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies
  • Time Bomb – Rancid
  • Kentucky Avenue – Tom Waits
  • Skyway – The Replacements
  • And finally, because it came out as I was in the final stages of composition and contains some uncanny thematic resemblances to the book, we hear this as the credits roll: Your Little Hoodrat Friend – The Hold Steady

By Joshua Furst.

This was originally published on August 21, 2007, on (Archive.)

Videos for The Sabotage Café, a novel by Joshua Furst