Lydia Millet

The novelist on great reads from wild West to wild nature.

Lydia Millet won the 2003 PEN-USA Award for Fiction for her novel, My Happy Light, and her collection of short stories, Love in Infant Monkeys, was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. Her new novel, Ghost Lights, revolves around an IRS agent, disconnected from his family, who seeks renewal by traveling to Belize to find his erstwhile boss, the protagonist of Millet’s previous novel, How the Dead Dream. Asked to choose three favorites, Millett responded with an eclectic trio of picks.

Books by Lydia Millet


Far Bright Star

By Robert Olmstead

“A western, true, historical, true, featuring men and guns and horses, guilty. But one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read, abstractions that are gorgeous in their rhythms and affect and subtle in their suggestions about mortality and aloneness. Sublime novel. Olmstead should be more widely read.”


Ill Nature

By Joy Williams

“My favorite book of essays possibly ever. Williams is to be worshiped for her mastery of the aggressive but righteous nonfiction narrative self. Best essay about a dog ever, best essay about hunting ever, a whole array of powerful heavy hitters. Williams’ stories are truly excellent too, but if you’re looking for great polemics that transcend the genre, please read Ill Nature at your first convenience.”


The Unprofessionals

By Julie Hecht

“Hecht is one of the funniest Americans writing today. Her cranky, solipsistic, vain, elitist misanthrope of a narrator is a work of brilliance. The Unprofessionals is a novel; try also her better-known and even more lacerating collection Do the Windows Open? for hilarious short stories.”

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