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Kirsten Arnett with Michelle Wildgen (free, RSVPs encouraged)

Kristen Arnett reads from and discusses her excellent debut novel, "Mostly Dead Things." Info/RSVP


Grief, deceased animals, and a love affair fill the pages of Kristen Arnett’s 2019 debut novel, Mostly Dead Things. The book follows the story of a family coping with the intricacies of a tragic suicide. The protagonist, Jessa-Lynn Morton, is left to smooth out the skin of the family’s taxidermy business in the wake of her father’s death, all while coping with her own trauma. Setting the story in hot, humid, and bittersweet Central Florida, Arnett also focuses on putting the logistics of queer women's lives on display. In a recent interview with Vulture, Arnett explained that she wanted the novel to explore this question: “What’s the day-to-day domestic routine if you just happen to be a queer woman?” The novel packs a one-two punch: It's beautifully witty, but captures people stuffed with longing, hurt, desire, and other messy emotions. 

Arnett comes to Madison in the midst of her book tour to give a reading in partnership with local literary incubator 702WI, at State Line Distillery alongside locally based author and teacher Michelle Wildgen. This won’t be the first time Arnett has talked shop with the backdrop of tasty drinks, as she literally had a book launch for her 2017 short-story collection Felt In The Jaw at a 7-11. Following a reading, Arnett and Wildgen will lead a discussion and Q & A. Perhaps you can ask a question about the book or find out if there is any truth to the claim that a library is just like a gas station; Arnett is sure to have an answer. —John McCracken

Earlier Event: July 17
False Faces (free)