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Friday, November 20, 2009

Love in Infant Monkeys

Posted by Alison Hallett on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Lydia Millet's new story collection, Love in Infant Monkeys, is one of my favorite books of the year. Each story is about the relationship between a celebrity and an animal, either directly or obliquely—an internal monologue from Madonna after she's shot and killed a pheasant; a melancholy profile of the professional dog-walker who cares for David Hasslehoff's dog; an account of Nicholas Tesla's romantic feelings for a pigeon. It's a weird, moving collection; I read it a few weeks ago when I was sick, and it made me cry, but I couldn't really breathe in the first place so the crying caused like a vacuum effect that sort of had me worried my eyeballs might get sucked into my skull. But they weren't. Anyway, it's absolutely worth picking up. Largehearted Boy just posted a Book Notes with Millet, where she pairs each story with a song:

"Chomsky, Rodents" is a fictionalized anecdote about a real-life episode when my husband ran into Noam Chomsky in a town dump on Cape Cod and Chomsky was trying to give away a gerbil cage. It's a lot about mothers too, women and men and parenting, so though I'm not much of a Sinead O' Connor fan in general I think I'd recommend "Emma's Song" to go with it.

The Chomsky story is particularly good.

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