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Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
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Mostly Dead Things

$20.99 USD

Retail price (USD): $22.95

Discount: 9%

This title is not eligible for purchase with membership credits. Why?

Narrator Jesse Vilinsky
Length 10 hours 28 minutes
Language English
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One morning, Jessa-Lynn Morton walks into the family taxidermy shop to find that her father has committed suicide, right there on one of the metal tables. Shocked and grieving, Jessa steps up to manage the failing business, while the rest of the Morton family crumbles. Her mother starts sneaking into the shop to make aggressively lewd art with the taxidermied animals. Her brother Milo withdraws, struggling to function. And Brynn, Milo’s wife―and the only person Jessa’s ever been in love with―walks out without a word.

As Jessa seeks out less-than-legal ways of generating income, her mother’s art escalates―picture a figure of her dead husband and a stuffed buffalo in an uncomfortably sexual pose―and the Mortons reach a tipping point. For the first time, Jessa has no choice but to learn who these people truly are, and ultimately how she fits alongside them.

Kristen Arnett’s debut novel is a darkly funny, heart-wrenching, and eccentric look at loss and love.

Kristen Arnett is a queer fiction and essay writer. She won the 2017 Coil Book Award for her debut short fiction collection, Felt in the Jaw, and was awarded Ninth Letter’s 2015 Literary Award in Fiction. She’s a columnist for Literary Hub, and her work has either appeared or is upcoming in North American Review, the Normal School, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Guernica, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Bennington Review, Tin House Flash Fridays / The Guardian, Salon, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

Jesse Vilinsky is a classically trained actress and voice actor, having graduated from the USC School of Dramatic Arts and BADA in London. She has lent her voice to numerous film and television projects and has worked on various video games, animation, and commercial projects as well. As a narrator, Jesse has garnered recognition in AudioFile magazine for her expertly voiced characters and ability to bring forth the strength and truth of their stories.

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Reviews

Mostly Dead Things is one of the strangest and funniest and most surprising first novels I’ve ever read.”

“Set in a richly rendered Florida and filled with delightfully wry prose and bracing honesty, Arnett’s novel introduces a keenly skillful author with imagination and insight to spare.”

“Kristen Arnett is the queen of the Florida no one has ever told you about, and on every page she brings it to a steely and vivid life.”

“It’s funny, dark, complex, and queer.”

“The action flips from the past to the present, swimming through first love and first grief on a slick of red Kool-Aid and vodka, suntan oil and fruity lip gloss, easy and unforced. This book is my song of the summer.”

“[Arnett] gets many things right in this first novel: the feeling of being trapped and vulnerable within one’s own family.”

“Narrator Jesse Vilinksky gives a wistful performance of Arnett’s debut novel…Vilinsky’s melancholy narration highlights the fact that Jessa is deeply depressed, a reality Jessa herself can’t acknowledge. Other characters, mostly members of the Morton family, are easily distinguishable, thanks to Vilinksy’s fully developed voices…She fully captures the emotional core of this story about family and the strange contours of grief.”

“Jesse Vilinsky is able to narrate Jessa’s first-person account in a manner that lets readers know that Jessa has spent her life hiding her feelings. She fittingly adds bursts of emotion and a quivering quality to her voice but is able to keep her overall manner reserved. All of the characters have their own distinct voices.”

“A family drama that’s as weirdly wonderful as it is captivating.”

“A strange, loving, and often startlingly funny portrait of loss and the act of piecing together the scraps of what’s left in grief’s wake.”

“A bold, dark and profoundly comic novel about the nature of love, loss, and invention.”

“Arnett writes with keen perception and clarity throughout, not just of grief and old wounds but of the working-class Florida landscape in which the Mortons live. This is an exquisitely painful and tender story, compassionate and understanding of its characters and their myriad flaws.”

“A celebration of the strangeness of life and love and loss, all of it as murky as a Florida swamp but beautiful in its wildness.”

“Arnett’s vision of Florida as a creative swamp of well-meaning misfits and the sweet hopefulness of finding your way back to yourself through family.”

“Arnett brings all of Florida’s strangeness to life through the lens of a family snowed under with grief.”

“A clever debut with a Florida setting that brings to mind writers such as Karen Russell and Lauren Groff.”

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