Mostly Dead Things

Mostly Dead Things

A Novel

Book - 2019
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Taking over her family's failing taxidermy shop in the wake of her father's suicide, grief-stricken Jessa-Lynn Morton pursues less-than-legal ways of generating income while struggling to figure out her place among her eccentric loved ones.
Publisher: Portland, Oregon : Tin House Books, 2019
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781947793309
Branch Call Number: FIC ARNETT 2019
Characteristics: 356 pages ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

A young woman struggles to take the reins of her father's failing taxidermy shop after his suicide.

A young woman struggles to take the reins of her father's failing taxidermy shop after his suicide.

From the critics

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Chapel_Hill_KrystalB Jan 06, 2020

I liked this one, but less than anticipated. It seemed made for me with its Florida setting, dysfunctional characters, hardships, quirk. But there were many contrivances, affected metaphors, unanswered questions for me to love it. (And yeah, taxidermy is a major theme so expect some grody (and sad) descriptions...)

Dec 05, 2019

Arnett has frequently described this book as being about taxidermy, Florida, family, and queerness, and oh boy is it ever. It’s also about loss and vulnerability and I know I already said it, but jesus christ the TAXIDERMY. [If you are quite squeamish, this…may not be the book for you. But it’s very very good and if you think there’s any chance you could push past it or let your eyes glaze over occasionally, I would recommend it.] I don’t even want to say more because if this book appeals to you at all you should GO. READ. IT. RIGHT. NOW. It wrecked me about eleven different ways.

Oct 18, 2019

Gave up at the half way point. Didn't know author is known as queer fiction and essay writer. Too much graphic lesbian sex for my taste.

ArapahoeLiz Oct 11, 2019

I really enjoyed this book. It's for the twisted readers who like dead things and sarcastic, witty writing. It involves a horrible family history, suppressed emotions, and multiple flashbacks. Perfect read for the fall season. LGBTQ+/Queer friendly.

Aug 15, 2019

This is not a funny book. It's crude. spoilers! Chasing peacocks to death, then gutting, deboning and stuffing them, then setting them on fire...what?? They are dead for the sake of waste? The dead animals being in "pornographic displays" is not just porn, it's something a serial killer would do. Lots of girl on girl action, all in horrible settings. I understand the part about her father being a taxidermist, and you're going to have dead stuff, but jeez, running over baby raccoons? Boiled baby alligators? A stuffed endangered Florida panther?? This is an absolutely terrible book. I kept reading it hoping it would get better, but it doesn't. Very disappointing.

SFPL_danielay Jul 16, 2019

Ok, this story of taxidermy and family in Florida is rather weird and if you are squeamish you might not like the guts and gristle descriptions of taxidermy preparation but if you keep with it, it is a rather touching story of family, loss and learning who you are and who you want to be.

Jul 07, 2019

This was a wonderfully weird debut novel, funny in all the right places and heartfelt to the last without getting sentimental. How rewarding it is to read a book where the lesbian's sexuality isn't the point of conflict!! I'll read anything Arnett writes.

OPL_ErinD May 05, 2019

"Mostly Dead Things" is for readers who like their realistic fiction a little weird, and for those who want to read about Florida, but never have to actually go there.


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Dec 18, 2019

I’d expected my family to understand me as an adult but somehow thought they’d always stay the same—a family encased in the skin I’d stretched over them, ill-fitting and irregular.


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