Fiction. For music journalist Daniel Morus, the notion that things could be going better is a double album-sized understatement. He finds himself on the wrong side of a brief second marriage, professionally irrelevant, and facing the last act of his life with few friends and little prospect for fulfillment—never mind happiness. His one remaining pleasure is the folk music he's spent the better part of his career listening to and writing about, especially the work of 1970s wunderkind Jim Toop, who enthralled audiences with lyrics that even after decades bristle with the kind of authenticity that can change a person's life. The same Jim Toop whose career was cut short when he mysteriously disappeared on a desert highway while driving to his next show, providing fodder for generations of conspiracy theorists. So when he’s approached by the editor of Folk! Magazine with the job of authenticating what might be the lost studio tape of Toop's final, unreleased album, The Taxidermist's Catalog, he jumps at the chance to do something that feels valuable again. Joined by a teenaged Toop enthusiast who calls himself Fox Mulder, Morus travels in the musician's footsteps, interviewing friends and family members as he makes his way towards Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where what he discovers about Jim Toop has the power to transform more than one life. Smart, funny, and written with a music insider's sensibility, THE TAXIDERMIST'S CATALOG will remind you what if feels like to be transformed by the power of music.
Feature @ The Rupture
James Brubaker is the author of THE TAXIDERMIST'S CATALOG (Braddock Avenue Books, 2019), LINER NOTES (Subito Press, 2014), and Black Magic Death Sphere: (science) fictions. His work has appeared in Zoetrope: All Story, Michigan Quarterly Review, Hobart, Booth, and The Collagist, among other venues. He lives in Missouri with his wife and cat, and teaches writing there. Author City: SAINT LOUIS, MO USA