Welcome to the audiobook version of The Free Brontosaurus, David Berkeley's novella comprising 10 interweaving stories, complete with his accompanying album of 10 songs, one for each character. This is an incredible merging of genres, exploring the relationship between literature and music, between prose and lyric. Here, you get the stories and the songs sequenced together.
The stories in The Free Brontosaurus are all set in the same fictional city, at the same moment in time, minor characters in one story are major characters in another. It is a bit like Olive Kitteridge, if reimagined by Miranda July. These are gently written narratives of isolation, describing characters disconnected from home and community. The book is full of dark humor, sadness, and glimmers of joy. Ultimately, the characters' abilities to find beauty in the bizarre connect and redeem them, offering the characters (and us) hope.
The book is only half of this project, though, for it also comes with a soundtrack: Cardboard Boat, comprising one song per story, written from the perspective of the main character from each tale. The album features Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins on background vocals. Both the book and the album can stand alone. However, when the two are combined, as they are here, an unusually moving and multi-layered world is born, likely to break and heal the heart.
Berkeley has collected some of his favorite musicians and friends to read these stories: songwriters Vienna Teng, Dan Bern, Garrison Starr, Natalia Zukerman, Kim Taylor, and Jono Manson; David's bandmates Bill Titus and Jordan Katz; David's wife Sarah Davis; and David himself.
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