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Samuel Beckett
Love, loss and taxidermy in Lydia Millet's 'Magnificence'
Love, loss and taxidermy in Lydia Millet's 'Magnificence'

Lydia Millet's "Magnificence" is a novel of ideas. I mean that as a high compliment, for the ideas Millet invokes are the only ones that matter: life, death, love, longing, extinction, the ongoing existential quandary of what we are doing here. The final installment in the trilogy that began with 2008's "How the Dead Dream" and continued with last year's "Ghost Lights" is an ambitious book, not so much for the sweep of its action, which is essentially domestic, but for its deep and nuanced investigation of inner life. "In an instant," Millet writes, "the whole of existence could go from familiar to alien; all it took was one event...

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