How the Dead Dream
By Lydia Millet
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156035460, 256pp.)
Publication Date: September 2009
As a wealthy, young real-estate developer in Los Angeles, T. lives an isolated life. He has always kept his distance from people — from his doting mother to his crass fraternity brothers — but remains unaware of his loneliness until one night, while driving to Las Vegas, he hits a coyote on the highway.
The experience unnerves him and inspires a transformation that leads T. to question his business pursuits for the first time in his life, to take a chance at falling in love, and finally to begin breaking into zoos across the country, where he finds solace in the presence of animals on the brink of extinction.
A beautiful, heart-wrenching tale, How the Dead Dream is also a riveting commentary on inidividualism and community in the modern social landscape and how the lives of people and animals are deeply entwined. Judged by many — including the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post Book World — to be Millet's best work to date, it is, as Time Out New York perfectly states: "This beautiful writer's most ambitious novel yet, a captivating balancing act between full-bodied satire and bighearted insight."
LYDIA MILLET is the author of several previous novels, including Everyone's Pretty and My Happy Life, which won the 2003 PEN Center USA Award for Fiction. She lives in the desert outside Tucson, Arizona.