Lydia Millet’s first collection of short stories explores the relationship between animals and celebrities. The 10 strange, poignant stories in “Love in Infant Monkeys” feature such characters as David Hasselhoff and his dog. Madonna encounters a pheasant; Thomas Edison electrocutes an elephant. Millet has published six novels; “My Happy Life” won the PEN-USA Award for fiction. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly says, “Millet’s stories evoke the spectrum of human feeling and also its limits.” The Los Angeles Times calls the collection “a superb book” and recommends it unequivocally: “It asks all sorts of uncomfortable questions: about ourselves, about the world around us, about the very essence of being, of belonging, of what it means to exist.” With such bizarre subject matter, these stories can be read on a number of levels. The New York Times says:
You could read this collection as a critique — of our celebrity culture, of the uses we make of unresponding creatures — and Millet is sufficiently thorough to layer these resonances in a satisfying way. But that would be to miss the pleasures of the best of these stories: their quickness, their minor graces.