Lydia Millet — Love in Infant Monkeys
Lions, rabbits, monkeys, pheasants—all have shared the spotlight and tabloid headlines with famous men and women. Sharon Stone’s husband’s run-in with a Komodo dragon, Thomas Edison’s filming of an elephant’s electrocution and David Hasselhoff’s dogwalker all find a home in Love in Infant Monkeys. At the rare intersections of wilderness and celebrity, Lydia Millet hilariously tweaks these unholy communions to run a stake through the heart of our fascination with pop icons and the culture of human self-worship.
In much fiction, animals exist as author stand-ins—or even more reductively as symbols of good and evil. In Millet’s ruthless, lucid prose—each story based on a news item, biography, or other fact-based account of a celebrity-animal relationship—animals are as complex and rich as our imaginings of them. In these spiraling fictional riffs and flounces on real life, animals show up their humans as bloated with foolishness and yet curiously vulnerable—as in a tour-de-force, Kabbalah-infused interior monologue by Madonna after she shoots a pheasant on her English estate.