BOOK REVIEW: Mostly Dead Things by Kirsten Arnett

January 13, 2020

Mostly Dead Things

Kirsten Arnett

A family-owned taxidermy shop in sunny Florida may not seem like the most conventional setting for a meditation on grief and heartbreak, but Kristen Arnett isn’t exactly a conventional author. Morbid, strange, and very queer, Arnett’s debut novel is sort of a coming-of-age story for an entire family: When Jessa-Lynn Morton discovers her father dead by suicide, she steps up to take over his struggling taxidermy business as the rest of their household falls to pieces around her. As her family implodes and grasps for meaning, Jessa-Lynn grabs the reigns and pulls things together, then Lucinda Rex, a gallery owner compelled by Lynn’s mothers wild erotic art, arrives in her life, breathing love and passion back into her, and changing everything, again.

Her ardent sex scenes give lesbian romantic fiction a seriously new passionate contender leaving you panting with a sheen of sweat. She’s filthy gorgeous. Arnett’s plot meanders, slowly taking everything in, pausing, lifting, rolling things over,  it’s a novel of observation and her drawing of Florida and its damp oppressive heat feels suffocating real. I loved this book it felt like a lesbian Six Feet Under but with meticulous, and ridiculously described stuffed animals.

Mostly Dead Things is a book that refuses to fit neatly into any boxes, a beautiful; mediation on grief, making it a perfect read for the start of a year and celebrating yourself for who you are.

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