By Lydia Millet
Lydia Millet is a staff writer for the Center for Biological Diversity as well as a novelist. Her third novel, My Happy Life, won the 2003 PEN-USA Award for Fiction, and her story collection Love in Infant Monkeys (2009) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Magnificence is the third novel in a trilogy that begins with How the Dead Dream (**** May/June 2008) and continues with Ghost Lights (**** Mar/Apr 2012).
THE STORY: We cannot avoid spoilers while we catch you up on the trilogy, so continue as you see fit. In How the Dead Dream, T., a young, successful Los Angeles real estate developer, embarks on a spiritual quest in Central America. He disappears into the jungle in Ghost Lights, and IRS agent Hal Lindley, haunted by a car accident that left his daughter, Casey, a paraplegic and by his wife's recent affair, sets out to find him. Now Susan, Hal's wife, shares her story. Learning that Hal has been killed in the tropics, she blames her infidelity for his death. Awash in guilt, Susan's life changes when she inherits a house on a 20-acre gated estate from her great uncle, which contains hundreds of taxidermies of animals. As she sets about restoring them and trying to make peace with her sexual transgressions, her demented mother, and her daughter's work in the phone sex industry, she discovers the house's dark secret.
Norton. 256 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 9780393081701
Cleveland Plain Dealer ****
"In Magnificence, Millet relaxes her usual satire, though the concerns of the two previous novels--extinction and preservation, loss and Discovery--remain powerfully present. ... If only Millet will give Casey, the final member of the quartet, her own revelatory novel." TRICIA SPRINGSTUBB
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...