Author Playlists

Boo Trundle’s Playlist for Her Novel “The Daughter Ship”

“Multiple voices tell the story in The Daughter Ship…This playlist is a group effort.”

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Boo Trundle’s novel The Daughter Ship startles in the best of ways, in its inventiveness, in its humor, and in its truths. This powerful debut is one of the year’s best books.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

“Trundle’s book is as cheekily humorous as it is deadly serious, a chaotic performance art piece wearing a novel as a disguise . . . A wildly strange reading experience that disorients and exhilarates in equal measure.”

In her own words, here is Boo Trundle’s Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel The Daughter Ship:

Multiple voices tell the story in The Daughter Ship. Three of these voices belong to children who live at the bottom of a lake in a rusty WWII submarine. As I worked on the novel, I had playlists going for each of them: Smooshed Bug, Star, and Truitt. They struggle to make themselves known to Katherine, the novel’s protagonist. The kids on the submarine have distinct personalities, different takes on reality, and, naturally, their own personal jams. Two more characters board The Daughter Ship as the plot unfolds: Ryder and Elegy. They have songs here, too. Another narrator is Dead Girl, a personified DNA strand that guides the course of events. Dead Girl represents the female ancestors on Katherine’s mother’s side of the family. Dead Girl has her favorite songs. Finally, we have the main character, Katherine, a regular woman in a regular suburban life with a regular Spotify account. Katherine might work out to her songs, or she might only listen to them because her teenagers make her, or, maybe, she cries to them in her car in the Target parking lot. This playlist is a group effort.

KIDS, MGMT (Elegy)

Elegy grows up quickly, in sudden bursts, like the child-actors in the Harry Potter movies. In one scene, she wears a green tutu to a therapy appointment. I can see her tramping across a wooden floor in a strip-mall dance studio with cracked wall mirrors. One of the things about a burning submarine: if it sinks, you need to be near an escape hatch, and even then, no one survives.

Nineteen, Tegan and Sara (Ryder)

When water burns, it’s not the water that’s burning, it’s the oil in the water. In The Daughter Ship, I equate oil with shame. Ryder is 19. He would die for the people he loves, but he doesn’t love anyone, not even himself. He wears a leather jacket instead.

Drop It Like It’s Hot, Snoop Dogg, feat. Pharrell Williams (Truitt)

Truitt plays this song over the loudspeakers in the submarine when he’s troubleshooting the broken equipment. He has tools, but not the right ones. He’s working from the wrong toolbox altogether. He loves this song because the girls don’t care for it. They don’t even like the clean version. Truitt likes to keep them away. He never asks for help. How’s that working out for you, Truitt?

We Just Disagree, Dave Mason (Smooshed Bug)

All the children want their truth to be true. But there can only be one true. Will they fight each other for it?

Your Ghost, Kristin Hersh (Dead Girl)

Dead Girl is a friend to ghosts, threads of consciousness, messengers from the beyond, the below, the beleaguered. This song is in honor of the nervous breakdown, the lunatic, and the wild of eye.

BURN THE WITCH, Radiohead (Dead Girl)

Dead Girl’s presence rests on the possibility that death isn’t real. Suppose we’re all already dead, or always alive. Dead and alive… words we have made up and invested with meaning in order to describe states that are still a total mystery.

Video Games, Lana Del Ray (Star)

Star doesn’t have a body proper, but if she did, she’d wear a flimsy sundress and cheap perfume. She’s self-destructive, hormonal, 13 going on 30. Studying sexy, smacking gum, accepting a ride from a too older boy. Not ready for her own jelly.

Prom, SZA (Elegy)

More growing to do. Elegy hits all the milestones as she moves up through them. She crosses the years in intuitive leaps. Put yourself in time out, shame on you, asleep in a field of poppies. Shoulda coulda woulda. Childhood is not for babies.

We’ve Been Had, The Walkmen (Truitt)

Truitt holds his middle finger up at all times, unless he’s sleeping. If he were being parented, he would flip back and forth between needy and rude. Serve me waffles with syrup while I watch cartoons—alternating with farts, lies, and school suspensions. But he’s not being parented.

Lost, Frank Ocean (Katherine)

A raft adrift.

    The Voyager, Jenny Lewis (Katherine)

    A mother is full-fledged. Her job requires her to master a stove, an oven, a microwave, a toaster, and a rice cooker. A mother must familiarize herself with the slang words and pop music of her children’s generation. A mother may try hard but alas, trying is not ever enough. A mother must love.

    Boo Trundle is a writer, artist, and performer whose work has appeared across various platforms and publications, including The Brooklyn Rail, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and NPR’s The Moth. She has released three albums of original music with Big Deal Records. She lives in New Jersey. The Daughter Ship is her first novel.

    If you appreciate the work that goes into Largehearted Boy, please consider supporting the site to keep it strong.