New York Times Book Review Editors’ Pick
A Library Journal Best Book of 2018
“Full of joys on every scale.” —NPR
This wonderfully original collection proves once again that Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet is “the American writer with the funniest, wisest grasp on how we fool ourselves” (Chicago Tribune). In Fight No More, Nina, a lonely real-estate broker estranged from her only relative, is at the center of a web of stories connecting a community through the houses they inhabit. With crackling satire and surprising tenderness, Millet introduces an indelible cast of untidy teens, beastly men, and strong-minded women whose stories begin to outline the fate of one particular family being torn apart by forces they recognize but cannot control. Millet’s intellect and beautiful prose deliver profound insight into human behavior, from the ordinary to the bizarre, and draws startling contrasts between house and home.
Millet's irresistible latest (following Sweet Lamb of Heaven) is a series of loosely connected stories centering on Los Angeles real estate, eccentric musicians, and a dysfunctional family on the verge of implosion. In "To Think/I Killed a Cat," readers are introduced to rebellious teen Jeremy, plotting to sabotage the sale of his family house. Readers also meet his father's scandalously young and pregnant new flame, Lora, who features in "The Fall of Berlin" as a trophy wife coping with her new surroundings to the bemusement of her new relations. The cast gradually expands to include a haunted au pair named Lexie; her predatory stepfather, Pete; and, in the title story, suicidal musician Lordy and his bandmates Ry and Lynn. These characters float in and out of each other's lives throughout the stories, which include a warped retelling of Snow White in "The Men," and a realtor mistaking Lordy for a foreign dictator in "Libertines." Millet's emphasis is on the inner lives of her characters, as they ruminate on subjects like Hieronymus Bosch, Joseph Stalin, and vampires. The aggregate effect makes this collection a sprawling, tender portrait of modern adults quietly trapped by their youthful aspirations.