Magnificence (Paperback)

By Lydia Millet

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393346855, 255pp.

Publication Date: November 11, 2013

November 2012 Indie Next List

“Susan is a serial adulterer whose life is shattered by her husband's sudden death. As she struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with her grown, paraplegic daughter, she unexpectedly inherits a mansion from a distant relative who had filled the magnificent house with stuffed and mounted animals from around the world. The novel explores the many forms that loss can take -- a loved one's death when it is too late to make amends; a daughter's loss of a life filled with possibilities if not for her accident; the slow deterioration of personality in the elderly with dementia; and the loss of animals in the wild to extinction. At once funny and touching.”
— Karen Vail, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA
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Description

This stunning new novel presents Susan Lindley, a woman adrift after her husband's death and the dissolution of her family. Embarking on a new phase in her life after inheriting her uncle's sprawling mansion and its vast collection of taxidermy, Susan decides to restore the neglected, moth-eaten animal mounts, tending to "the fur and feathers, the beaks, the bones and shimmering tails." Meanwhile an equally derelict human menagerie--including an unfaithful husband and a chorus of eccentric old women--joins her in residence.

In a setting both wondrous and absurd, Susan defends her legacy from freeloading relatives and explores the mansion's unknown spaces. Funny and heartbreaking, Magnificence explores evolution and extinction, children and parenthood, loss and revelation. The result is the rapturous final act to the critically acclaimed cycle of novels that began with How the Dead Dream.

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