Friday 25 June 2021

Mostly Dead Things

Finished June 20
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

This is a most unusual novel. It is set around a Florida family who are all reacting in different ways to recent losses. The main character here Jessa, is a woman in her thirties, who runs a taxidermy shop. The shop was her father's and he taught her most of what she knows. He tried to train her brother Milo as well, but Milo didn't take to it as naturally as she did.  A few months ago, Jessa's father killed himself at the shop, leaving her to clean up the mess. Jessa has thrown herself into work, but isn't doing well. She and Milo are also both grieving the loss of Milo's wife Brynn who has left the family. Jessa considered Brynn her best friend, but she also had a sexual relationship with her. Brynn left behind her son Bastien in his teens and her daughter Lolee who is younger. Jessa's mom is grieving in a different way. She is both free of a man who was very dictatorial in his life, and missing him as a partner. Her way of reacting is very different. She wasn't really involved in the shop before, but now she is taking the pieces and posing them in sexual ways in the window. When a nearby art gallery sees this, they take her on to do a show, and things really get wild. 
Jessa is reacting in a very prudish way to her mother's actions, both aghast at the blatant sexuality, and upset at the way the taxidermied pieces are being taken apart and repurposed. She is also drawn to the owner of the gallery, another strong woman named Lucinda. 
Bastien is also an interesting character. Like Jessa, he is trying to hold the family that is left together, but his methods are off the map. This is a novel that took me places I didn't even know existed and expanded my mind in wild ways. 
I also loved that the author is a librarian. 

No comments:

Post a Comment