The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading

Category: Book
By (author): Gisleson, Anne
Subject:  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / General
  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
  LITERARY CRITICISM / Books & Reading
  PHILOSOPHY / Criticism
  PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: July 2018
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 0.00in x 0.00in
Our Price:
$ 23.25
Availability:
Available: 3-5 days

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2017
Recommended Summer Reading -- Louise Erdrich, New York Times
A memoir of friendship and literature chronicling a search for meaning and comfort in great books, and a beautiful path out of grief

Anne Gisleson had lost her twin sisters, had been forced to flee her home during Hurricane Katrina, and had witnessed cancer take her beloved father. Before she met her husband, Brad, he had suffered his own trauma, losing his partner and the mother of his son to cancer in her young thirties. "How do we keep moving forward," Anne asks, "amid all this loss and threat?" The answer: "We do it together."

Anne and Brad, in the midst of forging their happiness, found that their friends had been suffering their own losses and crises as well: loved ones gone, rocky marriages, tricky child-rearing, jobs lost or gained, financial insecurities or unexpected windfalls. Together these resilient New Orleanians formed what they called the Existential Crisis Reading Group, which they jokingly dubbed "The Futilitarians." From Epicurus to Tolstoy, from Cheever to Amis to Lispector, each month they read and talked about identity, parenting, love, mortality, and life in post-Katrina New Orleans,
In the year after her father's death, these living-room gatherings provided a sustenance Anne craved, fortifying her and helping her blaze a trail out of her well-worn grief. More than that, this fellowship allowed her finally to commune with her sisters on the page, and to tell the story of her family that had remained long untold. Written with wisdom, soul, and a playful sense of humor, The Futilitarians is a guide to living curiously and fully, and a testament to the way that even from the toughest soil of sorrow, beauty and wonder can bloom.
Review Quote*"Moving and complete and very much worth reading . . . Post-Katrina New Orleans itself is an essential component of this world; it lives on the page in pungent detail, with all its disastrous losses and fragile hopes . . . An estimable book."-Emily Fox Gordon, New York Times Book Review
Review Quote*"Gisleson brings New Orleans itself into sharp focus, lingering lovingly on its places, its people, and its history . . . but she [also] goes universal in her debut . . . The Futilitarians tackles hopelessness, but it never succumbs to it. Gisleson writes with wit, warmth, and a spiritual devotion to books that never comes across as preachy . . . This search for purpose and connection amid chaos and loss permeates even the most heart-wrenching moments of The Futilitarians--and it's what turns the book from a meditation on reading to a celebration of being."-Jason Heller, NPR
Review Quote*"Truly great writing . . . Never does Gisleson dip a toe into the clich├ęd or the saccharine. Employing a Dave Eggers-esque eye for specificity and the absurd, she conjures the strange beauty of her world . . . An affecting memoir."-Keziah Weir, ELLE
Review Quote*"A healing memoir . . . Reeling from deaths, crises, and trauma, Gisleson and a group of friends formed the Existential Crisis Reading Group. In The Futilitarians, Gisleson movingly recounts how they found comfort in the words of Tolstoy, Kafka, and other greats."-Real Simple
Review Quote*"The meetings themselves are absorbing enough to make you crave an invitation, thanks to Gisleson's slyly gorgeous writing. But she also uses them to profound effect as a kind of scaffolding, linear poles through which to loop her personal story . . . New Orleans has a visceral presence in these pages, a malleable face, at times a defiant gaiety . . . Refreshingly, Gisleson doesn't offer answers so much as ask good questions . . Her story isn't an easy, read-in-a-couple-of-gulps proposition . . . Yet it offers a generous companionship, the solace of being seen."-Dawn Raffel, San Francisco Chronicle
Review Quote*
"Gisleson gives us a layered portrait of not just one woman's rich and complicated life, but so much more: a family suffering unspeakable tragedy, a city struggling, a group of friends brought together to make common cause in making sense of life . . . In her hands, the search is beautiful indeed, sparkling with fierce intelligence and sharp wit and unsparing honesty . . . Lovers of New Orleans stories will find much to admire here, with Gisleson's vast knowledge and experience of the city . . . Her observations are spot-on . . . An exquisite memoir."-Susan Larson, New Orleans Advocate
Review Quote*"Vivid . . . moving . . . This haunting and personal look at the real New Orleans, a city of light and shadows, is an unflinching meditation on public grief and honest intimacy."-Lauren LeBlanc, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Review Quote*"This is a shattering and very important book-and will, if there is justice (and there must be justice), be considered one of the best books of this year. There is an ocean of hurt here, but Gisleson manages to sail through it and show us everything that's beautiful about this sea of pain. If you love existential literature, or New Orleans, or your family, or are curious about the meaning of life, then you will find The Futilitarians to be an essential book."-Dave Eggers, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle and What is the What
Review Quote*"The Futilitarians sets out a search for meaning in grand terms and solves the search in the beauty of loving detail. From suicide to set painting, lunch pies to Death Row, from decayed eternity to the complex rebirth of New Orleans, this book never loses the treasure of abiding doubt. Plus, spoiler, it ends in fireworks and a reading list you do not want to miss."-Louise Erdrich