Friday, November 9, 2007

Lydia Millet

Lydia Millet's novels include Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, Everyone's Pretty, George Bush, Dark Prince of Love, Omnivores, and My Happy Life, which won the 2003 PEN-USA Award.

I recently asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
For review, the new Coetzee book, Diary of a Bad Year; from the library, Alan Weisman's doomsday bestseller The World Without Us, which is great. A lot of stuff about my fellow Tucson-dweller Paul Martin's fascinating Holocene overkill theory, whereby it's suggested that early Americans killed off the great megafauna of the continent -- the massive dire wolf, bears twice the size of grizzlies, sabre-tooth tigers, and of course the giant sloth, my personal favorite.

Lydia Davis's newest, Varieties of Disturbance, which I find funny, as she always is.

Just finished an quirky and enjoyable novel by Stacey Levine called Frances Johnson as well as the much-touted new novel Away, by Amy Bloom, which reminded me of nothing so much as the final episode of Six Feet Under, which features a kind of epic and sentimental fast-forward through the lives of all the main characters to show us how they end up -- a tear-jerking device if ever I've seen one. But then my tears are easy to jerk.
Coming soon from Lydia Millet: How the Dead Dream.

About the book, from the publisher:
T. is a young Los Angeles real estate developer consumed by power and political ambitions. His orderly, upwardly mobile life is thrown into chaos by the sudden appearance of his nutty mother, who’s been deserted by T.’s now out-of-the-closet father. After his mother’s suicide attempt and two other deaths, T. finds himself increasingly estranged from his latest project: a retirement community in the middle of the California desert. As he juggles family, business, and social responsibilities, T. begins to nurture a curious obsession with vanishing species. Soon he’s living a double life, building sprawling subdivisions by day and breaking into zoos at night to be near the animals. A series of calamities forces T. to a tropical island, where he takes a Conrad-esque journey up a river into the remote jungle. Millet’s devastating wit, psychological acuity, and remarkable empathy for flawed humankind contend with her vision of a world slowly murdering itself.
Visit Lydia Millet's website.

The Page 99 Test: My Happy Life.

--Marshal Zeringue