Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Mostly Dead Things
Cover of Mostly Dead Things
Mostly Dead Things
Borrow Borrow Borrow

A New York Times Bestseller

"This book is my song of the summer." —Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 at Esquire, The Week, BuzzFeed, NYLON, Bustle, HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and more.

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.

A New York Times Bestseller

"This book is my song of the summer." —Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 at Esquire, The Week, BuzzFeed, NYLON, Bustle, HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and more.

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.

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • 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 at North American Review, The Normal School, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Guernica, Electric Literature, Volume 1 Brooklyn, Bennington Review, Tin House Flash Fridays/The Guardian, Salon, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2019
    A young woman struggles to take the reins of her father's failing taxidermy shop after his suicide. Jessa-Lynn Morton only feels comfortable when she's scraping out the guts of a dead baby raccoon with delicate precision or drinking to forget the girl who got away. When her beloved father unexpectedly commits suicide, Jessa must carry the weight of her broken family on her own. "My father molded me to assist him; to be the one who helped shoulder the load," Jessa recalls. In the wake of his death, it doesn't take long before everything unravels. Jessa's mother starts placing stuffed and mounted animals in flagrante delicto in the shop window as well as "a parade of animals decked out in lingerie and posed in front of boudoir mirrors, alligator skulls with panties stuffed in their open mouths and dangling from their teeth." Meanwhile, Jessa's brother, Milo, sleeps through shifts at the local car dealership; Brynn, Jessa's first love and Milo's wife, is nowhere to be found; and the couple's children suffer from inattention and abandonment. Things begin to shift when Lucinda, an ambitious gallery owner, takes note of the strange, sexual displays in the taxidermy shop window, forcing Jessa to confront her childish anger about her mother's artwork as well as her chronic fear of intimacy with other women. Arnett's debut switchbacks through time, slowly skinning the pelt of Jessa's formative obsession with Brynn and her tragic relationship with her father, forged over preserving animals scraped off deserted Central Florida highways. Arnett writes in clear, perceptive prose, tracing Jessa's struggles growing up queer in the Deep South, yet the pacing and climax of this deeply psychological novel remain off-kilter. Jessa is stuck playing the eternal, repressed "straight" man to her creator's wry sense of humor--with mixed results. For all of Arnett's insights, the outsize mother-daughter conflict at the heart of the book feels as if a bear skin were draped over the skeleton of a much smaller mammal. Still, there's much to admire in Arnett's vision of Florida as a creative swamp of well-meaning misfits and in the sweet hopefulness of finding your way back to yourself through family. An ambitious debut writer with extraordinary promise, Arnett brings all of Florida's strangeness to life through the lens of a family snowed under with grief.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 15, 2019
    In Arnett’s dark and original debut, Jessa discovers her father dead of a suicide in the family’s Florida taxidermy shop. She also finds a note asking her to take care of the failing business, her mother, and her brother, Milo. Additionally, Jessa mourns the loss of Brynn, her brother’s (now) ex-wife and Jessa’s longtime lover, who left both her and Milo years before. As Jessa grieves over her lost loved ones, she must also deal with her remaining ones: Milo sinks from the world, missing work and barely paying attention to his children, and Jessa’s mother enters a late creative period, using the stuffed and mounted animals from the shop to make elaborate sexual tableaus for a local art gallery. Jessa also begins a romantic relationship with Lucinda, the director of the gallery and benefactor for Jessa’s mother’s newfound (and, for Jessa, “perverted”) artistry. 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.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2019

    DEBUT A young, openly lesbian woman named Jessa is keeping the family taxidermy shop going after her father's suicide. Under her dad's tutelage, she's become a skilled taxidermist, but the shop is losing money. Worse, Jessa's mother is acting out her grief by recrafting the stuffed specimens in the shop window into pornographic tableaux. The window displays spark interest from Lucinda, a sexy art gallery owner and potential love interest, who wants to promote the provocative art. A further complication for Jessa is the loss of Brynn, the love of her life and her brother's wife, who has run off, leaving her two children behind. And this is just the first chapter. What then unfolds is a clever debut with a Florida setting that brings to mind writers such as Karen Russell and Lauren Groff. While the book deals with sad, serious things, the tone is light, if not lighthearted, but be warned: descriptions of animal kills and dismemberments are often excruciatingly detailed. VERDICT Taxidermy as a through-line may be off-putting for some, but it grabs the reader like a horror novel; it's gruesome and yet civilized, resulting in a lifelike, if kitschy, work of art.--Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Jami Attenberg, author of ALL GROWN UP Mostly Dead Things packs messed-up families, scandalous love affairs, art, life, death and the great state of Florida into one delicious, darkly funny package. Kristen Arnett is wickedly talented and a wholly original voice
  • Alexander Chee, author of HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL If Heather Lewis and Joy Williams had a child it might be this—I don't think I've ever read a novel like it. There's a gunslinger cool to every sentence, like someone is telling you the last story they'll ever tell you. 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.
  • Danielle Lazarin, author of BACK TALK Kristen Arnett has written a portrait of an American family grieving their dead and their living, and lovingly tearing one another to shreds in the process. Too, this is a book about salvaging, about the Mortons' refusal to abandon what remains, to be buoys and coconspirators for one another's hearts. Mostly Dead Things is a vicious and tender beast, alive with wry humor and the undeniable beauty of the ways we love.
  • Karen Russell, author of SWAMPLANDIA! Mostly Dead Things is one of the strangest and funniest and most surprising first novels I've ever read. A love letter to Florida and to family, to half-lit swamps and the 7/11, and to the beasts that only pretend to hold their poses inside us. In Kristen Arnett's expert hands, taxidermy becomes a language to capture our species' impossible and contradictory desire to be held and to be free.
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Tin House Books
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 5 titles every 10 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Mostly Dead Things
Mostly Dead Things
Kristen Arnett
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel