Love in Infant Monkeys: Stories
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In fact, this is my first time to read something like this. The book is composed of 10 short stories featuring celebrities and their encounters with animals, pets or otherwise. I understand that these encounters are based on real-life news. In fact, when I googled the title, I came across the story of Harry Harlow's actual documented experiment regarding infant and mother monkeys.
The husband of Sharon Stone was also bitten by a Kumodo dragon during one of their visits at a zoo. Not sure if pop star Madonna really shot a pheasant bird , David Hasselholf really had a dog pet or President Jimmy Carter really hit a swimming rabbit in a pond but Millet wrote them as if they all indeed happened. But these stories reminded me of the difference in saying "animal! Similar to the word "ma" in Chinese, "animal! Seriously, this Pulitzer finalist rocks. It was a bit hard to understand and there were several instances that after reading a paragraph, I asked myself "what did she say?
It was like reading Helen Cixious but even if I did not understand half of the book, the half that I understood was already great and deserved to be appreciated. I think the difficulty was not only because of the events, phrases and terms that could only be familiar to the Americans but also the innovative prose of Millet. Her writing could be playful and all of the sudden become very serious philosophical that the shift could be disorientating.
If you love animals, please go for this book. Hands down, they stole the whole book from the celebrities. Just be prepared, however, for the meaningful phrases that could blow you off - positively if you love them or negatively if you hate profound mind-boggling phrases. For me, the line below encapsulates Millet's view of man and his pet animal: "People love their pets, but the love is tinged with sadness.
Love in Infant Monkeys « Lydia Millet | Author
Because the love is for a pet, they are ashamed of this. They want the love to seem as small as a hobby so no one will have to feel sorry for them. View 2 comments. Love the title of this book and the cover. The stories are unusual, mixing different circumstances and people with well-known figures. The first story features Madonna and I fund it to be quite humorous and the thoughts she has match how I think of Madonna. I liked the story with Tesla, he is a fascinating man, and I find this story quite touching. I also loved the last story which was the shortest, called The Walking Bird, and though strange was quite complete for so short a story.
Well written, Love the title of this book and the cover. Well written, and shows the fascination people hold for the public icons in the public's eye.
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View all 3 comments. Feb 16, Faiza Sattar rated it liked it Shelves: yltoread , This collection of ten short stories feature a myriad of animals and birds through whom human beings can assess their qualities and worth. The illustrations at beginning of each chapter, as well as stylistic choices of narration are reminiscent of Vonnegut. Lydia Millet presents a critique of contemporary culture where celebrities are infused deep into our social fabric.
Whilst we pay homage to these incorporeal beings, we forget out duty towards animals and nature and what humility towards creatures other than ourselves can bring about. Her thoughts leap from one topic to another, fame, gender, religion, nations, ideals and relationships. The smug self-centredness of her thought pattern is nauseating which likens herself to a deity all the while a pheasant sputters to death at her feet.
Human arrogance runs parallel to lack of empathy for other creatures. He witnesses a deep understanding of animal sympathy when a baby giraffe is about to be preyed upon by the lioness Girl. It is a story about loneliness and attachment, the relationship dogs have with their owners and the relationship owners have amongst themselves as humans.
Sir Henry is a dachschund belonging to David Hasselhoff.
Whilst the famous people are least bothered about their pets, using them only to show off in public places, the dog-walker considers the pets as individuals, not associating them with their owners. He likens the value of humanity which is amiss in humans themselves, to the values shown by dogs. He showers limitless affection to the birds and in the process of doing so, develops a warm relationship with one of his maids who is a victim of domestic abuse. The story is from the perspective of another maid who knew both of them together and apart.
As a person, he is distant from his family and uses inebriation to keep feelings of sympathy, care and love at bay. The ensuing conversation between them and another woman deals with motherhood and confining gender roles. Each misunderstands the purpose of this untimely visit, shifting reasons and guilt of an old incident on one another. Emasculation and misunderstanding between two men on the verge of reconciling their relationship provides for tension of the story. The reptile is transferred to a different zoo and ends up being brought by an eccentric Indonesian millionaire.
The millionaire uses the dragon to lure the actress into a relationship with him. A family visits the zoo and notices animals disappearing. Perhaps this story signifies the imminent threat of mass extinction and what future families will be deprived of. Animals serve as a foil to human comprehension of their immediate surroundings.
At times a dying bird provides a plane for self-exploration, a dead elephant can arouse maddening guilt, whilst at other times, a bird can help humans understand the surreal and natural. In an environment of severe competition for material gains, these voice-less beings which we consider less intelligent can inculcate morals which we may have forgotten long ago.
Our pitiless natures have stifled our ability to reason and animals can help reach our natural balance. This collection works as a parable of human hubris in its natural context. View all 4 comments. Jan 22, Liz rated it liked it. One of the reasons that I frequently hate on contemporary fiction is that anything high-concept tends to turn me off.
This collection of short stories by Lydia Millet is, indeed, high-concept and it inspired mixed feelings in me. The concept is particularly cloying: Each story in the collection involve One of the reasons that I frequently hate on contemporary fiction is that anything high-concept tends to turn me off.
The concept is particularly cloying: Each story in the collection involves a real famous person and an animal of some sort. The connections between celebrity and animal are a bit obvious and the idea is not even as "clever" as some other similarly concept-driven books. But Millet's writing is really quite good and there are stories here that are resonant and poignant.
While the first story, "Sexing the Pheasant," about Madonna on a hunting expedition with Guy Richie, seemed utter shallow fluff to me, "Tessla and Wife," about a cleaning woman observing Tessla's destition and love of pigeons in his later years is moving and rather beautiful. What this collection really suffers from, in my opinion, is a slavish devotion to the gimick Millet chose to exploit.
One story in the collection that I could have really loved, "Sir Henry," is about a dog walker to the rich and elite. He is entirely uninterested in his celebrity clients, but lives for their dogs, according them the utmost respect and treating them as friends and equals. He has a strict policy that he will not adopt a client's dog as his own should the client need to get rid of it, but when a concert violinist who is dying of cancer begs him to take her beloved poodle when she passes away he becomes conflicted and begins to explore his own humanity.
The story is full of compassion and does a perfect job of creating an intense emotional landscape for an outwardly reserved character. The problem is, David Hasslehoff is thrown in in a cameo, as one of the dog walker's other clients, for no other reason I could see than staying true to the formula of the book. This is exactly what irks me about this type of fiction. Millet is a talented writer with a strong, unique voice and I could have adored this collection, as opposed to merely liking it, had she shelved the gimick in favor of just plain, honest narrative.
Jun 14, Zach rated it it was amazing. Any collection that starts with a story told from the perspective of Madonna hunting pheasant "A woman with a gun was kind of a man in girl's clothes, a transvestite with an external dildo. And while that first story is probably the least like anything I've seen before which, for me, is always a pleasant discovery, the other stories step away from cleverness toward humanity, and it's there that the real rewards are found.
Humanity is examined through a semi-tame lion an Any collection that starts with a story told from the perspective of Madonna hunting pheasant "A woman with a gun was kind of a man in girl's clothes, a transvestite with an external dildo. Humanity is examined through a semi-tame lion and a giraffe, through a dog walker and his charges "The poodle was stately, subtle and, like the dachshund, possessed of a poise that elevated it beyond its miniature stature. I love nothing more than the lens of the absurd illuminating the everyday in surprising ways, and this book does that throughout.
It is the feeling of being surprised at finding exactly what is expected. May 24, Lee Klein rated it it was ok. Abounding celebrities could have been more fun -- felt like a not particularly imaginative writing constraint. Liked aspects of a few of the stories -- the first two thirds of the Madonna story and the opening of the title story -- but otherwise I was always aware that I was reading creative writing thanks to the first sentence of this. Maybe her novels are more engaging? Everyone needs to read at least one book by Lydia Millet.
How are y'all living your lives without her books in them? Jul 04, Celeste rated it really liked it. Jan 12, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: As I was about to check out at the library, I saw this book on the shelf of librarians' picks. I recalled that I had just seen that my friend Beth rated the book on goodreads. I was pretty sure she had given it a good rating, but I realized later that I wasn't positive about that.
Still, after I finished another book, I picked it and gave it a shot. At first I was a little disappointed - I hadn't realized it was short stories. I am not a big fan of short story collections.
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Or, I guess, of shor As I was about to check out at the library, I saw this book on the shelf of librarians' picks. Or, I guess, of short stories in general which makes little sense as I used to write them myself. It just seems that there are so few that are well-executed. Endings in general are hard, but I find short story endings even harder. It's as if every short story writer wants to leave the read with a vague, unsettled sense. They feel incredibly esoteric. It feels like the story takes itself too seriously and thinks it is really, really deep.
Enough of that. That topic might need its own manifesto.
Not only did I enjoy Lydia Millet's stories, but I generally found her endings to be far less pretentious than most. I loved her unabashed use of real celebrities as characters though I do wonder: did she have to get their permission? It's not an important question, but I did find it popping up more than once. I was willing to accept the dog owner as a generic celebrity, so when his identity was casually revealed, it was funny and clever.
And stories that involve Nikola Tesla? How can that be bad?
Review: Love in Infant Monkeys, by Lydia Millet
And Chomsky?? If you are going to use real people in your stories, these are some good ones to use. I'm now curious about Millet's novels. I plan on reading one, and soon, to see how her style shifts between the different formats. Oh - and I loved the illustrations. View 1 comment. Aug 04, Christopher MacMillan rated it it was amazing. Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept.
While in so much fiction animals exist as symbols of good and evil or as author stand-ins, they represent nothing but themselves in Millets ruthlessly lucid prose. Implacable in their actions, the animals in Millet's spiraling fictional riffs and flounces show up their humans as bloated with foolishness yet curiously vulnerable, as in a tour-de-force, Kabbalah-infused interior monologue by Madonna after she shoots a pheasant on her Scottish estate.