The Free Brontosaurus
by David Berkeley
The Free Brontosaurus is a novella comprising ten interweaving stories, complete with an accompanying album of ten songs. 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, titled Cardboard Boat, one song per story, written loosely from the perspective of the main character from each tale. Both the book and the album can stand alone. However, when the two are appreciated together, an unusually moving and multilayered world is born, likely to break and heal the heart.
A Rare Bird Book
Hardcover, 2015: 9781940207988
US $19.95 | Fiction
Dubbed “a musical poet” by the San Francisco Chronicle and a “double fantasy of Nick Drake and Donovan” by Rolling Stone, David Berkeley has recorded six albums and penned a memoir. He was a standout guest on This American Life, and has shared stages with Mumford and Sons, Dido, Adele, Ray LaMontagne, Nickel Creek, Billy Bragg, Ben Folds, Don McLean, and many more. According to The New York Times, “Berkeley sings in a lustrous melancholy voice with shades of Tim Buckley and Nick Drake . . . as his melodies ascend to become benedictions and consolations, the music shimmers and peals.” Berkeley lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife and two young boys.