Magnificence

( 7 )

Overview

This stunning novel introduces Susan Lindley, a woman adrift after her husband's death. Suddenly gifted her great uncle's Pasadena mansion, Susan decides to restore his extensive collection of preserved animals, tending to "the fur and feathers, the beaks, the bones and shimmering tails." Meanwhile, a menagerie of uniquely damaged humans - including a cheating husband and a chorus of eccentric elderly women - joins her in residence. Funny and heartbreaking, Magnificence is the story of a woman emerging from the ...

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Magnificence

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Overview

This stunning novel introduces Susan Lindley, a woman adrift after her husband's death. Suddenly gifted her great uncle's Pasadena mansion, Susan decides to restore his extensive collection of preserved animals, tending to "the fur and feathers, the beaks, the bones and shimmering tails." Meanwhile, a menagerie of uniquely damaged humans - including a cheating husband and a chorus of eccentric elderly women - joins her in residence. Funny and heartbreaking, Magnificence is the story of a woman emerging from the sudden dissolution of her family. Millet's trademark themes - evolution and extinction, children and parenthood, loss and wonder - produce a rapturous final act to the critically acclaimed cycle of novels that began with How the Dead Dream.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Audio
The newest novel from the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Millet (for her 2009 short story collection Love in Infant Monkeys), the final installment in a trilogy that began with How the Dead Dream, tells the lyrical but somewhat flat story of the newly widowed Susan Lindley. Susan, whose husband discovered her adultery shortly before his death, channels her feelings of guilt and grief into the restoration of a mansion and taxidermy collection inherited from a distant relative. Her relationship with her paraplegic daughter, Casey, changes rapidly, even as Susan unwittingly accumulates an extended family comprised of several older women and a married boyfriend. Xe Sands provides a serviceable narration, although her male voices lack the distinctness of the novel's female characters. VERDICT Neither author nor narrator is at her best here. Recommended only for collections where Millet's work is popular and for libraries with a strong interest in literary fiction. ["The story develops naturally, an ironic contrast to the artificiality of the preserved animals, and the novel becomes a lyrical meditation on what it takes to survive and evolve," read the review of the Norton hc, LJ 9/1/12.—Ed.]—Nicole Williams, Englewood P.L., NJ
From the Publisher
Earphones Award Winner. "[Xe] Sands presents a complex character whose complaints are balanced by a quirky sense of humor and musings on the meaning of life. Sands's narration is nuanced, entertaining, and thoughtful as Susan emerges from her self-absorption and takes on the role of conservator of the house and its inhabitants." - AudioFile Magazine
A Best Fiction Book of 2012. Starred review. "A dazzling prose stylist, Millet elevates her story beyond that tired tale of a grieving widow struggling to move on, instead exploring grief and love as though they were animals to be stuffed, burrowing in deep and scooping out the innermost layers." - Publishers Weekly
Starred review. "Millet is extraordinarily agile and powerful here, moving from light to shadow like a stalking lioness as Susan's strange stewardship casts light on extinction and preservation, how we care for others and seek or hide truth, and crimes both intimate and planetary." - Booklist
One of the "Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2012 Book Preview" titles. - The Millions
"...provocative, evocative...[Millet's] oblique, elliptical style serves her vision well." - The New York Times
"...Millet's lush prose has you in her thrall from the start..." - The Boston Globe
"Millet's writing is as lush as the house Susan lives in. There's a marvelous musicality to her prose; she's a writer who tackles human emotions with scientific precision and an artist's voice." - Star Tribune
"Magnificence, the final book of a trilogy, is more fable than realism, and promises a kind of moral or eerie warning at the end. It is also more of a long short story than a novel, as all of these subplots are funneled into the service of a single, graceful, short-story-like epiphany." - The Globe and Mail
Jonathan Lethem - The Guardian
“[Magnificence is] elegant, darkly comic…with overtones variously of Muriel Spark, Edward Gorey and J. G. Ballard, full of contemporary wit and devilish fateful turns for her characters, and then also to knit together into a tapestry of vast implication and ethical urgency, something as large as any writer could attempt: a kind of allegorical elegy for life on a dying planet. Ours, that is.”
David Ulin - Los Angeles Times
“Lydia Millet's Magnificence is a novel of ideas. I mean that as a high compliment, for the ideas Millet invokes are the only ones that matter: life, death, love, longing, extinction, the ongoing existential quandary of what we are doing here.... [A]n ambitious book, not so much for the sweep of its action, which is essentially domestic, but for its deep and nuanced investigation of inner life....”
Jenny Hendrix - Boston Globe
“...[W]arm, moving, funny, earnest, hopeful, honest, and engaged in a way at odds with current literary fashion…Millet’s lush prose has you in her thrall from the start.”
Mary Pols - San Francisco Chronicle
“...[U]unnervingly talented Lydia Millet completes a trilogy... each stands independently; you can read just one of them if you please. But you won't want to, any more than you'd want to leave Chez Panisse after the appetizer.... There is something of Paula Fox in the way Millet provokes deep thinking without being overbearing. But I hate to compare Millet to anyone; she's truly an original.”
Nicholas Mancusi - Daily Beast
“Millet is simply an incredible writer. Her prose displays the exceedingly rare combination of philosophical introspection with poetic grace and flourish.”
Laura Miller - Salon
“[A] novel of ideas or philosophy, disguised as a portrait of one woman’s midlife upheaval.”
Michele Filgate - Minnesota Star Tribune
“Millet's writing is as lush as the house Susan lives in. There's a marvelous musicality to her prose; she's a writer who tackles human emotions with scientific precision and an artist's voice…. There's a cataloging going on here of the ways that people navigate the world once their world has shifted; Millet does a fine job of breathing life into people who are surrounded by dead things.”
Christine Thomas - Miami Herald
“There’s much to explore in Magnificence, which is ambitious, often funny and deliciously provocative. One needn’t have read the entire series to be consumed by its pleasures, but by the time you reach its beautiful end, considerable comfort lies in the existence of two more novels in which to delight in Millet’s writing and imagination.”
The Guardian
“[Magnificence is] elegant, darkly comic…with overtones variously of Muriel Spark, Edward Gorey and J. G. Ballard, full of contemporary wit and devilish fateful turns for her characters, and then also to knit together into a tapestry of vast implication and ethical urgency, something as large as any writer could attempt: a kind of allegorical elegy for life on a dying planet. Ours, that is.”— Jonathan Lethem
Los Angeles Times
“Lydia Millet's Magnificence is a novel of ideas. I mean that as a high compliment, for the ideas Millet invokes are the only ones that matter: life, death, love, longing, extinction, the ongoing existential quandary of what we are doing here.... [A]n ambitious book, not so much for the sweep of its action, which is essentially domestic, but for its deep and nuanced investigation of inner life....”— David Ulin
NewYorker.com
“Millet’s prose, which is both sensitive and strange... creates a thick atmosphere that immediately pulls the reader deep into this saga of love, death, sex, and taxidermy.”
Boston Globe
“...[W]arm, moving, funny, earnest, hopeful, honest, and engaged in a way at odds with current literary fashion…Millet’s lush prose has you in her thrall from the start.”— Jenny Hendrix
San Francisco Chronicle
“...[U]unnervingly talented Lydia Millet completes a trilogy... each stands independently; you can read just one of them if you please. But you won't want to, any more than you'd want to leave Chez Panisse after the appetizer.... There is something of Paula Fox in the way Millet provokes deep thinking without being overbearing. But I hate to compare Millet to anyone; she's truly an original.”— Mary Pols
Daily Beast
“Millet is simply an incredible writer. Her prose displays the exceedingly rare combination of philosophical introspection with poetic grace and flourish.”— Nicholas Mancusi
Salon
“[A] novel of ideas or philosophy, disguised as a portrait of one woman’s midlife upheaval.”— Laura Miller
Minnesota Star Tribune
“Millet's writing is as lush as the house Susan lives in. There's a marvelous musicality to her prose; she's a writer who tackles human emotions with scientific precision and an artist's voice…. There's a cataloging going on here of the ways that people navigate the world once their world has shifted; Millet does a fine job of breathing life into people who are surrounded by dead things.”— Michele Filgate
Booklist
“Starred review. Millet brings her searching, bitterly funny, ecologically attuned trilogy of Los Angeles–based novels (How the Dead Dream, 2008; Ghost Lights, 2011) to a haunting crescendo. ...Millet is extraordinarily agile and powerful here, moving from light to shadow like a stalking lioness....”
Miami Herald
“There’s much to explore in Magnificence, which is ambitious, often funny and deliciously provocative. One needn’t have read the entire series to be consumed by its pleasures, but by the time you reach its beautiful end, considerable comfort lies in the existence of two more novels in which to delight in Millet’s writing and imagination.”— Christine Thomas
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611209839
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media
  • Publication date: 11/5/2012
  • Series: How the Dead Dream Series , #3
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lydia Millet

Lydia Millet is the author of literary fiction including Mermaids in Paradise, Magnificence (National
Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles
Times Book Prize finalist), Ghost Lights
(New York Times Notable Book), and Love in Infant Monkeys (Pulitzer Prize finalist).
She lives outside Tucson, Arizona.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 26, 2013

    I haven't read the book, but I had to comment on the review titl

    I haven't read the book, but I had to comment on the review titled "Rondom," which said the rater "dint like this book" and the book "was a waist of money." The rater told us not to "get thish book" because "i dont like the style of writing or the charictors." The rater "hayed" the book." Is any literate person going to trust the review of a person who cannot spell correctly or punctuate properly? I certainly hope not.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Rondom

    I dint like this book even my mom said it was a waist of money. Do not get thish book i dont like the style of writing or the charictors.
    I would rate it a two, my sister reads EVERYTHING and loves it she read this and hayed it in other words dont read it

    2 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    Dancelover23

    I love this book because it is a book that i would not want to put down and for all you people out there who either read this book or not i am just letting you know that i hope you enjoyed this book and if you haven't read it yet you will like it but that is your opinion not mine so for people who haven't read it yet you will not want to put it down

    2 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    Person

    Not very good at all

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Bad

    Very bad

    1 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    very moving!

    This book is well written, easy to read, and it felt like I was living among these characters. I think the author made a strong point abt the vulnerability of wild animals in a world dominated by humans with little concern for their survival.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2013

    LAB54 I'm with you! Makes me want to purchase and send them an

    LAB54 I'm with you! Makes me want to purchase and send them an ABC Primer. The book was okay - not great - but okay. The author definitely has a different style of writing than I am used to but it was something different to read about. A welcomed break after my recent James Patterson "serial killer" bing.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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