A Novel

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Pub Date 11 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 30 Sep 2022

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The stunning new novel from the author of the National Book Award–finalist A Children’s Bible.

Over twelve novels and two collections Lydia Millet has emerged as a major American novelist, writing vividly about the ties between people and other animals and the crisis of extinction. Her exquisite new novel, the first since A Children’s Bible (“a blistering little classic”—Ron Charles, Washington Post), tells the story of an Arizona man’s relationship with the family next door, whose house has one wall made entirely out of glass. The story delivers attraction and love, friendship and grief. But Millet also evokes the uncanny. Through close observation of human and animal life in the desert, she captures the daunting scale of human society without losing sight of the real difference one person can make in the world. Written with humor and benevolence, Dinosaurs asks big questions. Can a person be good? Can a man be good? Compellingly told, emotionally moving, intellectually rich, Dinosaurs may be Millet’s finest novel yet.

About the Author: Lydia Millet is the author of A Children's Bible, a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times 10 Best Book of 2020, among other works of fiction. 

The stunning new novel from the author of the National Book Award–finalist A Children’s Bible.

Over twelve novels and two collections Lydia Millet has emerged as a major American novelist, writing...

A Note From the Publisher

LibraryReads votes are due by 9/1/22.

LibraryReads votes are due by 9/1/22.

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781324021469
PRICE US$26.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

The book reads as a simple story of a man (Gil) who lives next door to a family with a glass window as the side of their house, so essentially, he views them as one would see fish in a bowl. The characters are well drawn, smart, and the dialogue is snappy. Chapters are named for different birds, which adds another layer of meaning to the tale. Gill's life becomes entangled in ways with his neighbors' which he could not have predicted, possibly to illustrate how, as humans, we are all connected, even when we feel isolated. If you're a fan of Lydia Millet's work, or literary fiction you will most likely appreciate this. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!

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Writing: 5/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 5/5

Deceptively simple, deeply beautiful story about a man who learns to open himself up to the world of human connection. Gorgeous writing detailing nature, thoughts, and a continuum of effort to fight for and take care of other people, but never himself. Takes place in the Phoenix desert, where one neighbor lives in a “castle” overlooking another neighbor whose home is built entirely of glass.

This is the first book I’ve read by Millet, and I’m definitely going to seek out the others to see if they all have this iridescent writing. The story was slow paced (which is not usually my thing) but I couldn’t stop reading. Humor, kindness, friendship, confusion, love, and moments of great poignancy — the book had it all.

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Lydia Millet has done it again. I look forward to every book she writes, particularly for her uncanny style and dry humor, and this one is a knock-out.

The story centers around Gil, a recent transplant from New York to Arizona, and the family who live next door. They become friendly and in classic Millet style, the small sometimes awkward moments of life are featured with outsize clarity. As their lives become more intertwined, Gil and Ted and Ardis (the parents next door) deal with the events life will throw: work, dating, death, friendship, parenting and ultimately how to do all these things in a good way. Integrity, goodness, and human desire and behavior, along with the utter ridiculousness that life just is, are all themes. Gil is a fantastic protagonist in his dogged want to be and do good, along with his constant struggle against loneliness and being unsure about how to act and what to do in certain circumstances. Should he intervene with a child be bullied? Is it his place to protect the local birds he finds shot dead near his property? How do you reconcile a 15 year relationship that ended and was only about money in the first place?

Birds, being the descendants of dinosaurs, play a role both in the story line and in the structure of the chapters. Each one is titled after a different bird. I enjoyed the idea of how long birds have been here, their ancestors on this planet, and how little and trifling our problems can be in light of that connection to such a long past. We are of this planet too, connected more than we may realize, and this should give us hope.

Well done, great read.

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I was so utterly, utterly charmed by this book. Bittersweet is the perfect word to describe it. A tad melancholy, philosophical, and ambling, a lonely man slowly builds up his family and his place in the world. It is very much a character driven story, and I got so wrapped up in them and their world. Like, Gil treks from Manhattan to Phoenix over the course of 5 months and that's the set up for the novel, not the plot. It's so simple and straight forward, yet so effective and thought-provoking. I caught myself smiling and/or touching my hand to my heart several times. The characters feel so real. And maybe I'm a paranoid reader, but I did spend a portion of this book waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something horrible to happen for the sake of drama because of course that would happen to these kind people. And it would have been very simple for Millet to take it in that direction and fall to tropes and melodrama. But she didn't and the heart of the book is not drama for drama's sake, which is really refreshing. Man, it was just So Good.

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I loved Lydia Millet's previous novel, A CHILDREN'S BIBLE, but honestly had no idea what this one was about. This turned out to be the best approach because what seemed like a simple story on the surface, man becomes interested and ingratiates himself into his neighbour's family, became much more,. Millet has written a detailed character study about a man who is real, honest, flawed and very likeable. Rarely do I see myself in male characters but I did here, which is no small feat.

A really lovely novel that I hope gets the attention it deserves.

Thanks to NetGalley, W.W. Norton & Company and Lydia Millet for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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