Lydia Millet is the author of seven books, most recently a story collection called Love in Infant Monkeys (2009), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and a novel, How the Dead Dream, named an L.A. Times Best Book of 2008. An earlier novel, My Happy Life, won the 2003 PEN-USA Award for Fiction. Her next two books, Ghost Lights and Magnificence, are coming out from W.W. Norton in late 2011 and 2012. Millet lives in the Arizona desert outside Tucson with her family.
Lydia Millet's chilling new novel is the first-person account of a young mother, Anna, escaping her cold and unfaithful husband, a businessman who's just launched his first campaign for political office. When Ned chases Anna and their six-year-old daughter from Alaska to Maine, the two go into hiding in a run-down motel on the coast. But the longer they stay, the less the guests in the dingy motel look like typical tourists and the less Ned resembles a typical candidate. As his pursuit of Anna and their child moves from threatening to criminal, Ned begins to alter his wife's world in ways she never could have imagined.
On the grounds of a Caribbean island resort, newlyweds Deb and Chip our opinionated, skeptical narrator and her cheerful jock husband who's friendly to a fault meet a marine biologist who says she's sighted mermaids in a coral reef.
As the resort's "parent company" swoops in to corner the market on mythological creatures, the couple joins forces with other adventurous souls, including an ex Navy SEAL with a love of explosives and a hipster Tokyo VJ, to save said mermaids from the "Venture of Marvels," which wants to turn their reef into a theme park.
Mermaids in Paradise is Lydia Millet's funniest book yet, tempering the sharp satire of her early career with the empathy and subtlety of her more recent novels and short stories. This is an unforgettable, mesmerizing tale, darkly comic on the surface and illuminating in its depths.
In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents' Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long--so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of "pharma." Nat's family is spending their pharma-guided last week at a luxury resort complex called the Twilight Island Acropolis.
Deeply conflicted about her parents' decision, Nat spends her time keeping a record of everything her family does in the company-supplied diary that came in the hotel's care package. While Nat attempts to come to terms with her impending parentless future, Sam begins to discover cracks in the corporates' agenda and eventually rebels against the company his parents have hired to handle their last days. Nat has to choose a side. Does she let her parents go gently into that good night, or does she turn against the system and try to break them out?
But the deck is stacked against Nat and Sam: in this oppressive environment, water and food are scarce, mass human migrations are constant, and new babies are illegal. As the week nears its end, Nat rushes to protect herself and her younger brother from the corporates while also forging a path toward a future that offers the hope of redemption for humanity.
This stunning new novel presents Susan Lindley, a woman adrift after her husband s death and the dissolution of her family. Embarking on a new phase in her life after inheriting her uncle s sprawling mansion and its vast collection of taxidermy, Susan decides to restore the neglected, moth-eaten animal mounts, tending to the fur and feathers, the beaks, the bones and shimmering tails. Meanwhile an equally derelict human menagerie including an unfaithful husband and a chorus of eccentric old women joins her in residence.
In a setting both wondrous and absurd, Susan defends her legacy from freeloading relatives and explores the mansion s unknown spaces. Funny and heartbreaking, Magnificence explores evolution and extinction, children and parenthood, loss and revelation. The result is the rapturous final act to the critically acclaimed cycle of novels that began with How the Dead Dream."
Cara's mother has disappeared. Her father isn't talking about it. Her big brother Max is hiding behind his iPod, and her genius little brother Jackson is busy studying the creatures he collects from the beach. But when a watery specter begins to haunt the family's Cape Cod home, Cara and her brothers realize that their scientist mother may not be who they thought she was--and that the world has much stranger, much older inhabitants than they had imagined.
With help from Cara's best friend Hayley, the three embark on a quest that will lead them from the Cape's hidden, ancient places to a shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. They're soon on the front lines of an ancient battle between good and evil, with the terrifying "pouring man" close on their heels.
Packed with memorable characters and thrilling imagery, Lydia Millet weaves a page-turning adventure even as she brings the seaside world of Cape Cod to magical life. The first in a series of books about the Sykes children, "The Fires Beneath the Sea" is a rip-cracking middle-grade novel that will make perfect beach reading--for readers of any age!
Hal is a mild-mannered IRS bureaucrat who suspects that his wife is cheating with her younger, more virile coworker. At a drunken dinner party, Hal volunteers to fly to Belize in search of Susan's employer, T.--the protagonist of Lydia Millet's novel How the Dead Dream--who has vanished in a tropical jungle, initiating a darkly humorous descent into strange and unpredictable terrain.
Lions, Komodo dragons, dogs, monkeys, and pheasants--all have shared spotlights and tabloid headlines with celebrities such as Sharon Stone, Thomas Edison, and David Hasselhoff. Millet hilariously tweaks these unholy communions to run a stake through the heart of our fascination with famous people and pop culture. While in so much fiction animals exist as symbols of good and evil or as author stand-ins, they represent nothing but themselves in Millet's ruthlessly lucid prose. Implacable in their actions, the animals in Millet's spiraling fictional riffs and flounces show up their humans as bloated with foolishness, yet curiously vulnerable--as in a tour-de-force, Kabbalah-infused interior monologue by Madonna after she shoots a pheasant on her Scottish estate. Millet treads newly imaginative territory with these charismatic tales.
As a wealthy, young real-estate developer in Los Angeles, T. lives an isolated life. He has always kept his distance from people -- from his doting mother to his crass fraternity brothers -- but remains unaware of his loneliness until one night, while driving to Las Vegas, he hits a coyote on the highway. The experience unnerves him and inspires a transformation that leads T. to question his business pursuits for the first time in his life, to take a chance at falling in love, and finally to begin breaking into zoos across the country, where he finds solace in the presence of animals on the brink of extinction.
A beautiful, heart-wrenching tale, "How the Dead Dream" is also a riveting commentary on individualism and community in the modern social landscape and how the lives of people and animals are deeply entwined. Judged by many-- including the"Los Angeles Times"and"The Washington Post Book World--" to be Millet's best work to date, it is, as"Time Out New York"perfectly states: "This beautiful writer's most ambitious novel yet, a captivating balancing act between full-bodied satire and bighearted insight."
A simple woman looks back on her harsh life with extraordinary insight and unexpected joy.
At the opening of "My Happy Life," the unnamed narrator of this bittersweet fictional memoir has been abandoned in a locked room of a defunct hospital for the mentally ill. She hasn't seen the nice man who brings her food in days; she's eaten the soap and the toothpaste; she tried to eat the plaster on her walls, a dietary adventure that ended none too well. And yet, curiously, the narrator is happy. Despite a lifetime of neglect, physical abuse, and loss, she's incapable of perceiving slight or injury. She has infinite faith in the goodwill of others, loves even her enemies, and finds grace and communion in places most people wouldn't dare to look. By stepping outside her meager circumstances, she's able to live each moment as though it were her last-with gratitude, longing, and delight.
Readers will be unable to put down Lydia Millet's impressive, original foray into serious literary fiction.
In Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, the three dead geniuses who invented the atomic bomb-Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and Enrico Fermi-mysteriously appear in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2003, nearly sixty years after they watched history's first mushroom cloud rise over the New Mexico desert in 1945. One by one, they are discovered by a shy librarian, who takes them in and devotes herself to them. Faced with the evidence of their nuclear legacy, the scientists embark on a global disarmament campaign that takes them from Hiroshima to Nevada to the United Nations. Along the way, they acquire a billionaire pothead benefactor and a growing convoy of RVs carrying groupies, drifters, activists, former Deadheads, New Age freeloaders, and religious fanatics.
In this heroically mischievous, sweeping tour de force, Lydia Millet brings us an apocalyptic fable that marries the personal to the political, confronts the longing for immortality with the desire for redemption, and evokes both the beauty and the tragedy of the nuclear sublime.
Everyone's Pretty is a savagely funny novel about the search for God, sex, and significance. When he's not drinking himself into a stupor, stealing credit cards to pay for sex, or plotting his fame with a horny midget, Los Angeles pornographer Dean Decetes entertains messianic delusions and freeloads wantonly from his spinster sister. Distancing herself from her deadbeat sibling, Bucella obsesses over the quasi-religious love notes she writes to her boss and reassures a coterie of codependent coworkers, including a hygiene-phobic Christian Scientist and a depressive blonde bombshell named Alice. Next door, a teenage math genius has endured humiliation at the hands of her mother and is running away from home. She hightails it to a local dive and hooks up with Dean's editor from the porno magazine. Told from five hilariously bizarre points of view, this novel serves up a fabulously florid cast of characters, many inspired by author Lydia Millet's two-year stint working at Larry Flynt Publications.