Mostly Dead Things

Kristen Arnett (Author) Jesse Vilinsky (Read by)


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.

Product Details

Blackstone Publishing
Publish Date
June 04, 2019
5.4 X 0.7 X 6.7 inches | 0.2 pounds

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About the Author

Kristen Arnett is the New York Times best-selling author of the debut novel Mostly Dead Things (Tin House), which was listed as one of that paper's top books of 2019. She is a queer fiction and essay writer. She was awarded Ninth Letter's Literary Award in Fiction and is a columnist for Literary Hub. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Gulf Coast, Guernica, Buzz- Feed, McSweeney's, The Guardian, on PBS NewsHour, and elsewhere. Her story collection, Felt in the Jaw, was published by Split/ Lip Press and was awarded the 2017 Coil Book Award. She is a spring 2020 Shearing Fellow at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Har- ter Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada. Her next two books (a novel, Samson, and a short-story collection, With Foxes) will be published by Riverhead Books. You can find her on Twitter @Kristen_Arnett.

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.


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

-- "Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author"

"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."

-- "Publishers Weekly"

"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."

-- "Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel"

"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."

-- "New York Times"

"Hilarious, deeply morbid, and full of heart."

-- "BuzzFeed"

"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."

-- "Nylon"

"Arnett brings all of Florida's strangeness to life through the lens of a family snowed under with grief."

-- "Kirkus Reviews"