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Publisher's Summary

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 30s. "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 childrearing, jobs lost or gained, financial insecurities or unexpected windfalls. Together, these resilient New Orleanians formed what they called the Existential Crisis Reading Group, 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, gatherings that increasingly fortified Anne and helped her blaze a trail out of her well-worn grief.

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.

©2017 Anne Gisleson (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)

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