Booksmith is pleased to present Anne Gisleson as she introduces her latest work, THE FUTILITARIANS. With Anne in conversation will be fellow author Dave Eggers (The Circle). Please join us!
THE FUTILITARIANS is the recollection of twelve months, twelve books, and twelve chapters of Anne’s life where she learned to grieve and heal from several family deaths as well as the impact of Hurricane Katrina on her hometown of New Orleans—all through her existential crisis book club. A witty, moving, and insightful memoir about looking for answers amid the pain of loss and the dreaded process of getting older—a book that New York Times bestselling author Jami Attenberg calls her “favorite memoir of the year” and sums up perfectly as “boozy, brilliant, beautiful, tragic, and deeply affecting.”
When Anne’s friend suggested that the two them start a reading project, Anne’s life was already densely packed: teaching, writing, looking after two young sons, managing a marriage, worrying about and tending to her sick father, and continuing to grapple with the deaths of her twin sisters, who, within the span of a year and a half, had taken their own lives. Nevertheless, her answer was yes, with one condition: It had to be a group project. The Existential Crisis Reading Group—or, as Anne liked to call its members, the Futilitarians—was born. Once a month, this motley crew of New Orleanian friends met in her living room. From Epicurus to Tolstoy, Cheever to Lispector, their goal was to tackle the big questions, using important thinkers as their guides. But when Anne’s father died after the group’s first gathering, the monthly quest of the Futilitarians assumed a whole new significance in her life, helping her to forge a path out of her grief.
By turns intellectual, poignant, playful, and deeply funny, The Futilitarians explores both the personal—from Anne’s Catholic upbringing in New Orleans, to her father’s death, to the suicides of her sisters—and the universal, the questions that mankind has grappled with for millennia. What is the correct way to live, to experience loss, to grow old? And what does it mean to be human?
— Anne Gisleson’s work has appeared in the Atlantic, the Oxford American, the Believer, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and has been selected for inclusion in several anthologies, including The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Anne teaches at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and lives in New Orleans with her husband and their two sons.
Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern), and a monthly magazine, The Believer.
More info: booksmith.com/event/anne-gisleson-dave-eggers-futilitarians