55 Haywood St.
Asheville, NC 28801
“The New and Improved Romie Futch 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
“Never a dull moment . . .The novel’s neatest trick is aligning Romie’s distress over his own future . . . with broader anxieties about what environmental and technological monstrosities the 21st century may bring.”
Meet the South’s newest antihero: Romie Futch. Down on his luck and pining for his ex-wife, the fortysomething taxidermist spends his evenings drunkenly surfing the Internet, then passing out on his couch. In a last-ditch attempt to pay his mortgage, he becomes a research subject at the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience, where “scientists” download humanities disciplines into his brain. Suddenly, Romie and his fellow guinea pigs are speaking in hifalutin SAT words and hashing out the intricacies of postmodern subjectivity. With his new and improved brain, Romie hopes to reclaim his marriage, revolutionize his life, and revive his artistic aspirations. While tracking down specimens for elaborate animatronic taxidermy dioramas, he learns of “Hogzilla,” a thousand-pound feral hog with supernatural traits that has been terrorizing the locals. As his Ahab-caliber obsession with bagging the beast brings him closer and closer to this lab-spawned monster, Romie gets pulled into an absurd and murky underworld of biotech operatives, FDA agents, and environmental activists. Part surreal satire, part Southern Gothic tall tale, The New and Improved Romie Futch is a disturbing yet hilarious romp through a strange New South where technology can change the structure of the human brain and an unwitting, ill-equipped protagonist will win your heart.