Reviews of The New and Improved Romie Futch

Reviews of The New and Improved Romie Futch

Romie Futch is imbued equally with the loopy lyricism of Barry Hannah and the whacked out paranoia of Philip K. Dick, the joyous farce of John Kennedy Toole, and the digital dystopia of William Gibson . . . . Elliott’s rambunctious tale snarls and growls on every page, aiming to plunge its lovely gnarled tusks right into the reader’s heart.”
New York Times Book Review (read full review)

“Divorced from beautiful Helen and barely clinging to his business, washed-up South Carolina taxidermist Romie Futch hangs out mournfully with other loser friends. Then he answers an ad placed by the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience, located in Atlanta, which is seeking research subjects willing to have humanities data downloaded into their brains. In a bid to remake his life, Romie signs up and is soon using language that might stump a Ph.D. But all does not go as planned, starting with his homecoming blackout. Then there’s the 1,000-pound hogzilla, another victim of lab intervention now marauding through the countryside, that Romie aims to bring down. VERDICT A send-up of self-improvement schemes and self-serving science, this wise and funny book by Elliott (The Wilds) treats its characters tenderly and glimmers at the end.”
Library Journal (Starred Review) (read full review)

“In The New and Improved Romie Futch, debut novelist Julia Elliott punches above her weight class, which is not to say that she can’t pull off the crackling inner life of a middle-aged, divorced, biologically enhanced taxidermist, but to say with admiration, she has.”
The Rumpus (read full review)

“[The New and Improved Romie Futch] reminds the cynical, seen-it-all reader sometimes strangeness is enough. Elliott’s work . . . contains brilliance.”
Kirkus (read full review)

“A sad-sack taxidermist joins an intelligence experiment and instantly becomes a certified genius in this frenetically surreal novel. ”
—Oprah’s Editor’s Pick

“Julia Elliott’s debut novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, zips between various genres, from Southern gothic to sci-fi satire, in a clever, wildly imaginative romp through the landscape of the South and the neural pathways of one man’s brain. At times heartbreaking and at times hilarious, The New and Improved Romie Futch announces Elliott as an undeniably original voice.”
BookPage Interview (read full interview)

“Julia Elliott may be a wizard, and I don’t throw that term around with abandon. She proved to us with her short story collection, The Wilds, that her prose is like nothing you’ve ever read: sharp, hilarious, dark, and, expansive all at once. With Romie Futch, a book about a divorced South Carolina taxidermist who is haunted by his ex-wife, and arguably isn’t taking the best steps to get his life back on track, Elliott has gone above and beyond with an eye-opening gothic satire that pushes the boundaries of dystopia.”
Bustle, Best October Reads (read full review)

The New and Improved Romie Futch is a wildly inventive first novel which not only contains some of the most genuinely funny scenes I’ve read in recent memory, but also contains some truly evocative, poetic prose that will make word nerds swoon when they read it. Simply put, The New and Improved Romie Futch easily ranks as one of my favorite reads of 2015, and I guarantee you’ll read this exceptional debut novel in one sitting.”
LitReactor (read full review)

“Julia Elliott’s debut novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, is its own baggy monster―with a literal biohazard monster, Hogzilla, at its carefully plotted core. But for all the postmodern genre-busting elements Elliott throws into her novel, at its center is the very real human heart of Romie Futch, a 21st century Everyman. ”
Kirkus interview (read full interview)

“The novel’s neatest trick is aligning Romie’s distress over his own future, which once seemed so boundless, with broader anxieties about what environmental and technological monstrosities the 21st century may bring.”
Publishers Weekly (read full review)

“Author Julia Elliott is awesome, and readers will cheer on both Romie and Hogzilla and then Google the author to discover her other books and her cool band.”
The Brooklyn Paper

“Like the vicious, genetically-modified hog that rampages on its cover, Romie is anarchic and rudely alive, and it’s never less than fun to read about Elliott’s Romie Futch, a middle-aged, male fuck-up to rank with the legacy members of this august tradition.”

Southern Humanities Review (read full review)

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: A Novel

The New and Improved Romie Futch 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

“Surprising and spiky and thoroughly enjoyable. Romie Futch is a wry delicacy of a novel, but also a wild boar–crashing and thrashing and swerving through unexpected twists.”
—Lauren Beukes, author of Broken Monsters

“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 Romie Futch is a real mess. When a shadowy research institute offers to expand his mental capacity–and pay him a stipend for the privilege—Romie skims the paperwork and signs his name. But will cerebral downloads of art and literature help him win back his beloved Helen? Can Romie revive his taxidermy career by slaying the mythical mutant razorback nicknamed Hogzilla? And what about the side effects from all those downloads? With vibrant prose, quirky characters, and pointed commentaries on contemporary American life, Julia Elliott answers all those questions, and many more. Read Romie Futch, and you, too, will find yourself newly improved.”
—Michael, Annie Bloom’s Books