How To Be Invisible: Selected Lyrics, Kate Bush.

How To Be Invisible: Selected Lyrics, Kate Bush.

Music is all about composition and arrangement — well, that, and raw talent, enigmatic beauty, the ability to enchant, entrance, and connect, as well as the wonderful but inexplicable strangeness that draws people — fans, often ardent ones — to you and the things you create of and make. 

Composition and arrangement are also what How To Be Invisible: Selected Lyrics, Kate Bush’s new literary issue, is about and bound by. The clothbound edition puts to page a carefully selected and arranged collection of some of Bush’s most reverent, curious, and evoking lyrics. 

The book is introduced gracefully and adoringly by English novelist David Mitchell, author of Ghostwritten, The Bone Clocks, and Cloud Atlas, to name but a few, a self-avowed fan who has written about his admiration for Bush many times before and who previously worked together with Bush on dialogue for her Before the Dawn shows.

The book itself is simple in concept, and then, where simplicity is concerned, that’s about it — nothing else at all about it is simple in the least, with Bush’s words as they appear on the page managing to remain as impacting alone, just there, in black and white, as they are slipping in song from her lips. 

The case for lyrics being presented in literature has long been the subject of energetic, shall we say, discussion — partially recently, with Bob Dylan being recognised as a Nobel Prize winning laureate for his work in literature; in words — words in the shape of lyrics. Some people aren’t keen on the idea, but for why, is the question, when songs are poetry, are stories, are words being strung together in ways that are not only affecting but thought-provoking, as well.

All of those things — affecting, thought-provoking, poetic, storied — are indicative of the sense you get from Kate Bush’s writing (yes, writing) in How To Be Invisible. What you take away from the beautifully arranged, designed, composed, and considered book, is just how blurry the lines of storytelling can be. 

You can find a story, a whole story, in a moment, a sentence, a poem, a limerick, a story — book-length or short — a song, or a play. You can find a story in words that don’t exist on paper at all — in words that exist only in the minds of the storytellers who keep them alive — or you can find them on a screen or printed to paper, in the shape of a book, or not. 

How To Be Invisible is shaped very much like a book, and a lovely one, at that. And it is a book filled with stories, with creativity and inspiration. With sheer talent, with wonder, with admiration, and with artfulness. What it is, is literature, and what is it as well, is a treasure.

How To Be Invisible: Selected Lyrics by Kate Bush is published by Faber and distributed in Australia by Allen & Unwin. 

It is available now, online and from bookstores.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.


How To Be Invisible: Selected Lyrics
by Kate Bush
Hardcover, 272 pages
R.R.P.: $29.99 (AUD)