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The New and Improved Romie Futch
(Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read)

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Published:
Tin House Books 2015
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Description

From the author of The Wilds, which Publishers Weekly called "a brilliant combination of emotion and grime, wit and horror," comes a debut novel that is part dystopian satire, part Southern Gothic tall tale: a disturbing yet hilarious romp through a surreal New South where newfangled medical technologies change the structure of the human brain and genetically modified feral animals ravage the blighted landscape.Down on his luck and still pining for his ex-wife, South Carolina taxidermist Romie Futch spends his evenings drunkenly surfing the Internet before passing out on his couch. In a last-ditch attempt to pay his mortgage, he replies to an ad and becomes a research subject in an experiment conducted by the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience in Atlanta, Georgia. After "scientists" download hifalutin humanities disciplines into their brains, Romie and his fellow guinea pigs start debating the works of Foucault and hashing out the intricacies of postmodern subjectivity. The enhanced taxidermist, who once aspired to be an artist, returns to his hometown ready to revolutionize his work and revive his failed marriage. As Romie tracks down specimens for his elaborate animatronic taxidermy dioramas, he develops an Ahab-caliber obsession with bagging "Hogzilla," a thousand-pound feral hog that has been terrorizing Hampton County. Cruising hog-hunting websites, he learns that this lab-spawned monster possesses peculiar traits. Pulled into an absurd and murky underworld of biotech operatives, FDA agents, and environmental activists, Romie becomes entangled in the enigma of Hogzilla's origins.Exploring the interplay between nature and culture, biology and technology, reality and art, The New and Improved Romie Futch probes the mysteries of memory and consciousness, offering a darkly comic yet heartfelt take on the contemporary human predicament.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/01/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781941040164
ASIN:
B00TKPKZAG
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Julia Elliott. (2015). The New and Improved Romie Futch. Tin House Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Julia Elliott. 2015. The New and Improved Romie Futch. Tin House Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Julia Elliott, The New and Improved Romie Futch. Tin House Books, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Julia Elliott. The New and Improved Romie Futch. Tin House Books, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:53:46
Date Updated:
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        JuliaElliott's fiction has appeared in Tin House, the GeorgiaReview, Conjunctions, Fence,and other publications. She has won a Rona Jaffe Writer's Award, and herstories have been anthologized in PushcartPrize: Best of the Small Presses, Best American Fantasy, and Best American Short Stories. Her debut story collec­tion, TheWilds, was chosen by Kirkus, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, and Electric Literature as one of the BestBooks of 2014 and was a New York Times Book Review Editors'Choice. She is currently working on a novel about hamadryas ba­boons, a speciesshe has studied as an amateur primatolo­gist. She teaches English and Women'sand Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she lives with her daughter and husband. She andher spouse, John Dennis, are founding members of the music collective Grey Egg.

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shortDescription

From the author of The Wilds, which Publishers Weekly called "a brilliant combination of emotion and grime, wit and horror," comes a debut novel that is part dystopian satire, part Southern Gothic tall tale: a disturbing yet hilarious romp through a surreal New South where newfangled medical technologies change the structure of the human brain and genetically modified feral animals ravage the blighted landscape.Down on his luck and still pining for his ex-wife, South Carolina taxidermist Romie Futch spends his evenings drunkenly surfing the Internet before passing out on his couch. In a last-ditch attempt to pay his mortgage, he replies to an ad and becomes a research subject in an experiment conducted by the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience in Atlanta, Georgia. After "scientists" download hifalutin humanities disciplines into their brains, Romie and his fellow guinea pigs start debating the works of Foucault and hashing out the intricacies of postmodern subjectivity....

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title
The New and Improved Romie Futch
fullDescription

From the author of The Wilds, which Publishers Weekly called "a brilliant combination of emotion and grime, wit and horror," comes a debut novel that is part dystopian satire, part Southern Gothic tall tale: a disturbing yet hilarious romp through a surreal New South where newfangled medical technologies change the structure of the human brain and genetically modified feral animals ravage the blighted landscape.Down on his luck and still pining for his ex-wife, South Carolina taxidermist Romie Futch spends his evenings drunkenly surfing the Internet before passing out on his couch. In a last-ditch attempt to pay his mortgage, he replies to an ad and becomes a research subject in an experiment conducted by the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience in Atlanta, Georgia. After "scientists" download hifalutin humanities disciplines into their brains, Romie and his fellow guinea pigs start debating the works of Foucault and hashing out the intricacies of postmodern subjectivity. The enhanced taxidermist, who once aspired to be an artist, returns to his hometown ready to revolutionize his work and revive his failed marriage. As Romie tracks down specimens for his elaborate animatronic taxidermy dioramas, he develops an Ahab-caliber obsession with bagging "Hogzilla," a thousand-pound feral hog that has been terrorizing Hampton County. Cruising hog-hunting websites, he learns that this lab-spawned monster possesses peculiar traits. Pulled into an absurd and murky underworld of biotech operatives, FDA agents, and environmental activists, Romie becomes entangled in the enigma of Hogzilla's origins.

Exploring the interplay between nature and culture, biology and technology, reality and art, The New and Improved Romie Futch probes the mysteries of memory and consciousness, offering a darkly comic yet heartfelt take on the contemporary human predicament.

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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 10, 2015
        Displaying the same dark whimsy of her acclaimed short story collection, The Wilds, Elliott’s first novel is a farce about a South Carolinian taxidermist hunting a mutant boar. Turning to the bottle and neglecting his business after his wife leaves him, Romie Futch answers an ad looking for subjects willing to receive “pedagogical downloads” consisting of the OED, Thomas Bernhard, and Derrida, and a number of other abstruse works. Like most liberal arts educations, Romie’s comes at an exorbitant cost: putting himself at the mercy of Biofutures, the sinister “mega-conglomerate” running the experiment. Upon his release, the “new and improved” Romie tries his hand at art, constructing a series of “postnatural taxidermic dioramas” that feature mutated animals he captures in the vicinity of a toxic waste dump. He soon develops an Ahab-like obsession with a monstrous, genetically altered pig known as Hogzilla, “winged and bald, nightmare beast of the future.” Though there is never a dull moment, the bursting narrative generates a sense of fatigue as we follow Romie’s mock-epic quest, desultory attempts to throw light on the shady Biofutures, and foray into conceptual art. The novel’s neatest trick is aligning Romie’s distress over his own future, which once seemed so boundless, with broader anxieties about what environmental and technological monstrosities the 21st century may bring.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        August 1, 2015
        This first novel from Elliott (The Wilds, 2014) blends dystopia and Southern Gothic. Taxidermist Romie Futch has spent his life with deadbeat dudes who like to drink-you know, people like him. Still smarting from the breakup of his marriage and needing some money, Romie signs up for a medical experiment at the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience in Atlanta: he and his fellow subjects get all of the humanities uploaded to their brains. Soon, Romie and his new pals are discussing the highfalutin in the only vernacular they know: "Fuck that punk Derrida. Got game in his flow but no heat." This, essentially, is the joke of the novel's first third, and it wears a little thin. But when Romie leaves the center, Elliott tells a bizarre (and bizarrely moving) story about how he tries to put his life back together. Dreaming of an art career, Romie hunts squirrels, stuffs them, and makes them into dioramas illustrating Foucault and Bentham's concept of panopticon. Soon, he's hunting bigger animals, using the head of a wild swine to dress himself as "Lord Tusky the Third, a lean and refined gentleman with the head of a boar." (This is Elliott at the height of her absurdity.) Eventually, Romie becomes obsessed with killing a mutant hog nicknamed "Hogzilla" (with, yes, plenty of Ahab references). How does all of this hang together? Surprisingly well, mostly because Elliott uses Romie's heartbreak to underpin all the action, no matter how silly it gets. It's not a perfect novel, but it's always energetic. At its worst, it feels like an author showing off, in love with her central concept like a parent who can't stop talking about her kids on Facebook. Then again, as this novel reminds the cynical, seen-it-all reader, sometimes strangeness is enough. Elliott's work, in its own snarling and unruly way, contains brilliance.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from November 1, 2015

        Divorced from beautiful Helen and barely clinging to his business, washed-up South Carolina taxidermist Romie Futch hangs out mournfully with other loser friends. Then he answers an ad placed by the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience, located in Atlanta, which is seeking research subjects willing to have humanities data downloaded into their brains. In a bid to remake his life, Romie signs up and is soon using language that might stump a Ph.D. But all does not go as planned, starting with his homecoming blackout. Then there's the 1,000-pound hogzilla, another victim of lab intervention now marauding through the countryside, that Ronnie aims to bring down. VERDICT A send-up of self-improvement schemes and self-serving science, this wise and funny book by Elliott (The Wilds) treats its characters tenderly and glimmers at the end.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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