Lydia Millet


How the
Dead Dream


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"The writing is always flawlessly beautiful, reaching for an experience that precedes language itself."

-- Salon

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"It's hard, in fact, to convey how invigorating Millet's fiction is, how intelligent and thematically rich, how processes of thought are themselves made urgent and lively through the specificity of her observations and sentences that offer startlement, small and large. This isn't fiction that tells us how to live. Instead, it dramatizes the power of attentiveness to an expanded, if terribly flawed and potentially dying, world, attentiveness being a kind of tenderness, which is a kind of love."

-- The Globe and Mail

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"How the Dead Dream" synthesizes the two styles of Millet's fiction -- the harrowing and the madcap -- with a new elegance. The chapters are longer, the narrative voice more coherent, and, as a result, the outrage in her fiction achieves an unprecedented depth of focus."

-- The San Francisco Chronicle

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"Wonderful secondary characters abound in this end-time novel, including T.’s spacey mother, his over-the-top gay father, a saucy paraplegic friend, a testosterone-driven egomaniac investor and fraternity brothers straight off the set of “Animal House”...Millet sees the natural world with clear-eyed urgency and the social landscape with wisecracking, dark humor. How the Dead Dream is an edgy telegram on behalf of nature and its singular beasts. As Millet writes: “The quiet mass disappearance, the inversion of the Ark, was passing unnoticed.” "

-- Kansas City Star

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"How the Dead Dream focuses on the quiet existential crisis that arises from living in a dying world... Yes, there's an argument for environmental protection here, but what more profound is Millet's understanding of the loneliness and alienation in a world being poisoned to death."

-- Washington Post

"Millet's got a visionary sensibility, marked by a voice that is by turns biting and dark. Her books take on the absurdity of contemporary American culture, poking at it from the outside in...Millet's sixth novel, How the Dead Dream...may finally get her the attention she deserves."

-- Los Angeles Times

"At first, T. might seem hard to like -- he's a child who turns schoolyard bullying into a business, and when he collects for the unfortunate, he keeps the bulk of the take without a twinge of conscience. But he's rendered in such complex, fine detail -- as carefully etched as one of the engravings he studies on the backs of dollar bills -- that he comes alive, irresistibly sympathetic, both deadpan and deep."

-- Los Angeles Times Book Review

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"One of the most acclaimed novelists of her generation."

-- Los Angeles Times (profile)

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"Millet, a writer of encompassing empathy and imaginative lyricism and a satirist of great wit and heart, takes readers on an intelligently conceived and devastating journey into the heart of extinction...her extraordinary leap of a novel warns us that as the splendor and mystery of the natural world is replaced by the human-made, our species faces a lonely and spiritually impoverished future."

-- Booklist (starred review)

"A frightening and gorgeous vision of human decline."
-- Utne Reader

"Millet proves no less lyrical, haunting or deliciously absurd in her brilliant sixth novel than in her involving character study and a stunning meditation on loss--planetary and otherwise--Millet's latest unfolds like a beautiful, disturbing dream."

-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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"With wry, brilliant dialog and insightful existential musings, Millet delves deep into the meaning of humanity's destructive connection to nature and the consequences of the extinction of both animals and love. Absorbing and not to be missed; highly recommended."
-- Library Journal (starred review)

"The reader's sympathy never flags...the suffering of a selfish, greedy fortune-builder remains heartwrenching. The intelligent, sharp-humored charm of her narrative voice aligns the reader with T. from the start. In lyrical passages that trace T.'s deeper musings, Millet makes the personal universal, raising the stakes so that each realization has the weight of a revolution. And, like all revolutions, it's an untidy process, leaving the future uncertain."

-- BookPage

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"For a long time, Lydia Millet has had the makings of a great novelist. At least two of her five previous books have hinted at how far her gifts might take her, but her latest, How the Dead Dream, brings all her strengths into an impressive balance...she has pulled off her funniest, most shrewdly thoughtful and touching novel. If Kurt Vonnegut were still alive, he would be extremely jealous."

-- The Village Voice

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"What Millet has managed to do with How the Dead Dream and 2005's wonderful atomic fable Oh Pure and Radiant Heart is to write fiction that confronts social issues without falling into shrill hectoring or dull didacticism...her steady hand and subtle voice are what make them work as well as they do."

-- The Believer

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"American culture loves its stories of hubris, downfall and ruin as of late, but it takes a writer of Millet's sensitivity to enjoy the way down this much."
-- Eye Weekly 

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