"[A] superb, memorable novel"
—Publishers Weekly (*Starred Review*)
"[An] extremely smart…resonant fantasy."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Millet...boldly fuses lyrical realism with precisely rendered far-outness to achieve a unique energy and perspicacity, the ideal approach to the most confounding reality of our era: the atomic bomb...As nonfiction books about the nuclear threat proliferate, Millet's brilliant, madcap, poetic, fact-spiked, and penetrating novel (think Twain, Vonnegut, Murakami, and DeLillo) illuminates the personal dimension of our most daunting dilemma."
"Lydia Millet is da bomb. Literally....Though Oh Pure and Radiant Heart possesses the nervy irreverence of Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller, Millet makes the subject matter her own, capturing the essence of these geniuses in a way that can only be described as, well, genius."
"In her brilliant and fearless new novel Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, Lydia Millet takes a headlong run at the subject of nuclear annihilation, weaving together black comedy, science, history, and time travel to produce, against stiff odds, a shattering and beautiful work."
"Oh Pure and Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet (My Happy Life) is that rarest of finds: a compassionate satire, with a terrific premise and writing that's so assured that readers should be lining up for admission to this dystopia."
—Christian Science Monitor
"Millet, who has been compared to Flannery O'Connor, is a mordant satirist...Elegiac, savage, funny."
"Complex and affecting"
—Washington Post Book World
"a dense, seductive mix of history and imagination"
"Mixing fact and fantasy in prose that echoes Pynchon's surreal playfulness and DeLillo's pithy gravitas, Millet offers a searing satire of modern America. Yet like its three protagonists, the novel transcends time and place to explore the limits of reason and faith, the line between good and evil, the instinct that makes us embrace death as well as life, and the dark forces of human nature that prey upon mankind's most wondrous ideas. Which is to say, this is a big, rich book about a nightmare that begins with a dream."
—Raleigh News & Observer
"A novel of ideas, hilarious and crammed with facts, that dwells equally on the small questions of how best to live a private life."
"For all its frenetic energy and fiery satire, Oh Pure and Radiant Heart—part farce, part comedy of errors, part spiritual inquiry, part historical testimony, part love story—is an acutely sensitive novel, a work of many moods and modes, a richly dimensional, shrewd and humanistic tale in the manner of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut and Haruki Murakami. The pushed-to-the-edge characters, lavish details and suspenseful plot are all mesmerizing, and create the ideal vehicle for Millet's incisive and gutsy inquiry into urgent and controversial matters."
"Lydia Millet's new novel begins with a dream and works like a dream.
It has a dream's weird logic — resurrected historical figures milling about in contemporary milieu — and a dream's blurry urgency. Oh Pure and Radiant Heart warns us to wake up, pay attention and care. But it delivers its message with humor, of the dark variety....Would that the past could often comment, so well and so correctly, on the future it created."—Kansas City Star
"With her fifth novel, Lydia Millet has reached critical mass…Her wit and wicked insight and originality flash and burn."
"A very beautiful novel."
—NBC's Weekend Today in New York
"[T]he year's finest urban fantasy... Sporting dark humor, caustic insight and a genuinely disturbing denouement, Oh Pure and Radiant Heart is a must-read for all fans of good literature - genre and mainstream alike."
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Thanks to Millet's evocative rendering and impeccable scholarship, the physicists feel real, convincing and even moving."
—Time Out New York
"An entirely original novel: equal parts funny and chilling, accurate and bizarre."
"Lively, provocative fiction, graced by good writing and a refreshingly offbeat worldview."
"[A]s if toggling between HBO and the History Channel, Millet's extravagant narrative is regularly interrupted by deadpan segments on the hideous, biblically proportioned power of thermonuclear weapons."
"a wonderful flight of the imagination, funny and thoughtful and richly imagined"
"Oh Pure and Radiant Heart is a fascinating book…[it's] images are riveting; the history is fantastic."
"Lydia Millet has written a funny, courageous and very human novel.
A political thriller, a sci-fi romp and a poetic meditation on history, Oh Pure and Radiant Heart confronts America's nuclear legacy and present lunacy with furious satire and haunting grace."
"Oh Pure and Radiant Heart showcases the many brilliant talents of Lydia Millet: her lovely lyrical prose, fierce intelligence, wicked sense of humor, and an imagination for reinventing history that is deserving of the greatest admiration."
"A Molotov cocktail comprised of dreams, history, philosophy and wit, Lydia Millet's new novel, Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, explodes the rationale for nuclear armament along with any claims of its rationality."
"Lydia Millet deftly manages this dangerously high-concept conceit with generous, precise, and funny prose. A born storyteller"
"Oh Pure and Radiant Heart does an exquisite job of deploying moments of reason despite its unlikely plot, and, conversely, it excels in evoking intense feeling despite its preoccupation with science and reason.…In its smallest moments and its most expansive ideas, Oh Pure and Radiant Heart is a beautiful and fiercely intelligent novel, and it provides us with some very important advice: pretend the world is real."
"Oh Pure and Radiant Heart is a unique and wide-reaching book. …[I]ts head soars into philosophical inquiry about love and peace and creative ambition; its heart is planted in the emotional and psychological landscape of its characters and those who have been terrorized by the bomb; and its feet are sunk firmly into the political reality of greed, manipulation, and opportunism."
—The Bloomsbury Review
"Millet shines in her ability to portray her characters and all their quirks."