"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
"After Katrina, New Orleanians became experts in resilience. Anne Gisleson has captured that spirit poignantly in The Futilitarians, which explores how we can find meaning in our lives by struggling back from tragedies. Whether as communities or as individuals, she shows, we do it by holding hands and moving forward together."―Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute and New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs and Einstein: His Life and Universe
"This is a beautiful book about the things that matter-love, death, grief, anger, regret, renewal, the life of the mind, the life of the heart, and the life of the world around you. Anne Gisleson is a brave and gifted writer, with the wisdom to embrace empathy and connection, not to mention intellectual curiosity, in an existence that can only ever be filled with uncertainty. I just wish I could join her reading club."
―Sam Lipsyte, New York Times bestselling author of The Ask
"Boozy, brilliant, beautiful, tragic, and deeply affecting, The Futilitarians is my favorite memoir of the year."
―Jami Attenberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Middlesteins
"A wonderful and profoundly moving personal memoir of loss and resilience, and an unforgettable tribute to the great good that comes from reading great books (and talking about them!) Through long evenings of conversation fueled by food, wine, and more wine, the Existential Crisis Reading Group finds sustaining joy in literature, art, community, and yes, family. This book will move you to tears, to laughter, and to joy-and will leave you with a renewed awe for all the unexpected gifts that being alive allows, including the special joy of finding a great book like The Futilitarians."
―Nina Sankovitch, author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair
"An engrossing memoir chronicling a search for spiritual healing . . . A graceful narrative that seamlessly interweaves philosophical reflections and intimate revelations."―Kirkus Reviews
"Gisleson's memoir is a compassionate journey through personal grief, as well as a smart compendium of literature . . . What ensues is dynamic examination of human suffering and human joy . . . Most moving is her hard look at her twin sisters' lives . . . Her narrative is a wonderful look at friendship and grief, as well as an enlightening personal journey."―Publishers Weekly
"With beautiful writing, Gisleson effortlessly weaves existentialism around narrative, challenging and engaging readers with a seamless blend of theory and memoir. Writer and educator Gisleson's first book-length work weighs heavy with life's toughest questions and then instantaneously elevates the soul with hope, making for a charming, captivating, and incredibly smart must-read."―Melissa Norstedt, Booklist
About the Author
Anne Gisleson is a writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Oxford American, The Believer, Ecotone, The Los Angeles Times, and has been selected for inclusion in several anthologies, including Best American Non-Required Reading. For years, Anne was chair of the Creative Writing Program at the internationally-renowned New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. In 2005, she co-founded Antenna in New Orleans, where she lives.