Synopses & Reviews
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.
" romps wildly through a land of feral mutants and monsters of a more civilized kind. But at the story's core is a heartsick man who believes he can be better. In this exceptionally imaginative and funny novel, high culture collides with low, the future torments but also soothes, and the grotesque beauty of our humanity shines through it all." Diane Cook, author of MAN V. NATURE
" reminds the cynical, seen-it-all reader sometimes strangeness is enough. Elliott's work . . . contains brilliance." Kirkus
" not only marks the arrival of one of the funniest, smartest, and most unnerving novels you'll read this year, but also a vision for Southern literature that could only have sprung from Julia Elliott's wild, devastating, and wholly original imagination. Consider me a fan for life." Laura van den Berg, author of FIND ME: A Novel
"In her debut novel, South Carolina author Julia Elliott takes us on a freewheeling, Pynchonian adventure through the American South. Recently divorced and mortgaged to the hilt, taxidermist
From the author of , 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.
About the Author
Julia Elliott's fiction has appeared in Tin House, the Georgia Review, Conjunctions,