Audiobook fans should start the countdown as well.
Time magazine reports it will be an event, an audiobook with 166 narrators, each reading a single character. So many readers will contribute, in fact, that Time says Penguin Random House Audio is applying for a Guinness World Record.
The cast for the production looks like a Hollywood red carpet. Nick Offerman, Lena Dunham, Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon, and Don Cheadle all have parts. So do Jeffrey Tambor, Bradley Whitford, and Megan Mullally.
Authors David Sedaris, Mary Karr, and Miranda July narrate, as does Saunders himself. Award-winning professional narrators Kirby Heyborne and Cassandra Campbell participate as well.
Saunders tells Time, “This was a really gratifying artistic venture … I love the way that the variety of contemporary American voices mimics and underscores the feeling I tried to evoke in the book: a sort of American chorale.”
Readers and listeners might want to keep the concept of a chorale in mind. Early reviews point out the complexity of the reading. As Booklist puts it the “surreal action … resembles a play, or a prose variation on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology (1915), as [the multiple characters] tell their stories.”
A clip of the recording gives a taste of the mix of voices: