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April 8, 2020

Berit Ellingsen's Playlist for Her Novel "A Tale of Truths"

A Tale of Truths

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, Heidi Julavits, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Berit Ellingsen's novella A Tale of Truths is a propulsive and inventive literary fantasy.

In her own words, here is Berit Ellingsen's Book Notes music playlist for her novel A Tale of Truths:

A Tale of Truths is a rococo style fantasy novella about science, politics, hierarchy, rebellion, and what is true or not. A scientist and her granddaughter travel back to their home city to try and spark a scientific revolution, along with an elf and two horses that used to be a cat. The novella is out from Rosarium Publishing in April 2020.

Here are some of the music pieces that inspired the novella.

1) The play Amadeus by Peter Schaffer and movie by Milos Forman was one of the period pieces that inspired A Tale Of Truths. Here is one of the most famous arias by Mozart, which is also used in the play and film: Queen Of The Night from The Magic Flute sung by Maria Callas, considered to be one of the finest opera singers of all times.

2) Another inspiration was the first Pirates Of The Caribbean movie from 2003. It had so much energy and silly antics, but at the same time a winding plot and fun characters. In particular it inspired the scene in A Tale Of Truths where one character is swinging in chandeliers to get away from pursuers. This is the theme He's A Pirate from Curse Of The Black Pearl by Klaus Badelt:

3) I enjoy European opera and the more dramatic and operatic, the better and more fun. This is probably why I also like the Japanese opera style of Noh. The music is dark and dramatic, and every gesture in the dance has significance. Noh theater inspired the theater performance in A Tale Of Truths where the actors wear large masks and costumes and the lines and songs are performed by the orchestra and chorus in the background.

And another one: Tamura Dance Of The Ghost. If I had to choose, Noh music would be the soundtrack of my life.

4) The instrument I associate the most with the baroque and rococo period is the brittle but agile sound of the harpsichord. To me, the sound of this instrument encapsulates the time period. Here is a concerto written especially for harpsichord by Antonio Vivaldi.

Strangely, the harpsichord sounds a little like the music of early video games, as in Venice Violins by Nathan McCree from the game Tombraider 2:

5) One of the places that inspired the northern land in A Tale Of Truths is Svalbard in the high Arctic. The name means "Cold Coast" and the glacier filled and pemafrost landscape looks almost extraterrestrial. Here is the Svalbard Theme by Sigmund Groven from the movie Orion's Belt, which was filmed in Svalbard.

The short story The Tale That Wrote Itself is set in the same place as A Tale Of Truths and is available in the collection Vessel and Solsvart.

Thank you so much for letting me share some of the musical inspirations for A Tale Of Truths!

Berit Ellingsen is the author of three novels, Now We Can See The Moon (Snuggly Books 2018), Not Dark Yet (Two Dollar Radio 2015), and Une ville vide (PublieMonde 2014), a collection of short stories, Beneath the Liquid Skin (Queen's Ferry Press), and a mini-collection of dark fairytales, Vessel and Solsvart (Snuggly Books 2017). Her work has been published in W.W. Norton's Flash Fiction International, SmokeLong Quarterly, Unstuck, Litro, Lightspeed, and other places, and it has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the British Science Fiction Association Award. Berit is a member of the Norwegian Authors' Union.

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Book Notes (2018 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2015 - 2017) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

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