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Love in Infant Monkeys
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Love in Infant Monkeys

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  517 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Lions, rabbits, monkeys, pheasants—all have shared the spotlight and tabloid headlines with famous men and women. Sharon Stone’s husband’s run-in with a Komodo dragon, Thomas Edison’s filming of an elephant’s electrocution and David Hasselhoff’s dogwalker all find a home in Love in Infant Monkeys. At the rare intersections of wilderness and celebrity, Lydia Millet hilariou ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by Soft Skull Press (first published August 1st 2009)
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Banana by Dan KoeppelLove in Infant Monkeys by Lydia MilletThe Fish That Ate the Whale by Rich CohenBanana Cultures by John SoluriEliot's Banana by Heather Swain
2nd out of 50 books — 2 voters
Karmic Krackers by Dab10Small Matters by Michael KanuckelCivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George SaundersTenth of December by George SaundersThat Sadie Thing by Annalisa Crawford
Contemporary Short Story Collections
239th out of 258 books — 138 voters

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Community Reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 31, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: Pulitzer 2010
This book lost to "Tinkers" by Paul Harding in the Pulitzer Award for Fiction in 2010. As I've read both, I think I know why. This book has a more innovative concept but the jurors probably were not yet ready for it. 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 ...more
Diane S.
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,
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."), I will probably love. 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 ...more
Paolo Latini
Siamo tutti animali e qualcuno un po' di più

Lyida Millet, FYI, è una scrittrice americana nota per il carattere eclettico del suo stile narrativo, che va dai pastiche grotteschi e surreali di George Bush, Dark Prince of Love (Soft Skull, 2000—dove si racconta della passione quasi-erotica di una giostraia per George Bush senior) e del picaresco Everyone’s Pretty (Soft Skull, 2005—che segue le disavventure di un ex-magnate della pornografia), a testi caratterizzati da stile e contenuti più poetici
One of the reasons that I frequently hate on contemporary fiction is that anything high-concept tends to turn me off. A clever and/or quirky conceit does not guarantee that a work of fiction will be well-written, and I frequently find the gimick being used to be a distraction if the writing is, in fact, passable. 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 ...more
Wanted to love this but pretty quickly found it too gimmicky, too similarly toned, too clipped syntax-wise for me, especially too easily/cheaply emotionally manipulative (animal abuses). 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 th ...more
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. Or, I guess, of shor ...more
Richard Leis
Lydia Millet explores through her shorts stories in the collection Love in Infant Monkeys the harm we cause animals and also the ridiculousness of celebrity. Only one of these stories is outright fantasy; the rest have as their initiating kernel a true story about a person and animals. She crafts from the truth fictions that are both darkly humorous and emotionally wrought. Every story is great and I particularly loved the unexpected transcendence of the animals in "Girl and Giraffe," the unreso ...more
I’ve been hoping to find a contemporary US fiction writer like Lydia Millet -- although I haven’t been looking very hard, I guess. I’ve realized that, almost alone among my bookworm friends, I just don’t read that much contemporary fiction, and I’m not likely to change now. Cervantes said the point of literature was to “please and instruct” equally, and I have to say I’m just not feeling that from my compatriots much these days. But exceptions prove the rule and so (thanks to a goodreads connect ...more
Louise Chambers
This is a haunting, sometimes disturbing, imaginative collection of short stories; animals and people share the stage, and the animals force us to look at our own animality. We can no longer cling to our delusion that we above all of the other creatures on Earth.
Joan Winnek
Peculiar little book. The cover illustration is so realistic I wondered who had left a banana on my bedside table.
Christopher MacMillan
So when I had first heard of this book, I thought it was going to be a silly, light-hearted romp about celebrities and their pets, that would be a laugh-a-minute. While Lydia Millet did indeed write a book that is funny, I was stunned to find how much complexity, intelligence, depth, and - especially - melancholy are found in each one of these simple stories.

Carefully composed to be concise and easy-to-read, Millet presents to us a surge of emotion, morals, and symbolism, with each one of her sh
As many of my friends know, I tend to love the Pulitzer winners. Love in Infant Monkeys was a finalist this year along with In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (which I'm slated to read in December) and runner up to the severely disappointing Tinkers. I hadn't read anything on Millet book, so I was pleasantly surprised upon reading her opening chapter, a short story titled "Sexing the Pheasant" in which Madonna (yes, that Madonna) shoots a pheasant out of the sky during a hunting trip with husband Guy ...more
Enrique Dante Bouchot
Never mind the formula of springing stories to life using real life factoids about celebrities and animals. Some have found that formula gimmicky, I think it was contriving, and didn't really mind it. My problem is that I feel the stories, or at least most of them, are lacking in depth. A great example is the final story in the book, "Walking Bird", which left me wondering "Is this it?", I never really understood what was the point of writing it. Other than "Sir Henry", there was not a single st ...more
Derek Emerson

Lydia Millet has received a lot of praise for her work and is seen by many as one of the best writer's in the U.S. Stepping into her world for the first time with her collection of stories, Love in Infant Monkeys, shows a writer willing to take risks in her material. The collection revolves around animals, be they pets, circus elephants, or even the lions from the movie Born Free. Millet further layers the collection with real life celebrities or historical figures so in the course of the book w
Love in Infant Monkeys is a collection of short stories all relating tales of well known people and their often humorous interactions with animals.

I think I have a mild case of OCD because despite the fact that they are short stories, I read the book cover to cover, beginning at the first one and then reading them in order. I do it with all short story collections...

I found the first tale, Sexing the Pheasant, rather dull and boring to read but despite this dissapointing start, the book quickly
I recently played a modern role playing game called Fiasco which is sort of an exercise in cooperative storytelling -- you invent characters and then choose relationships or objects or places that bind the characters and give them motivations. As you play the game, you iteratively invent a fiction about your characters. It's a fascinating exercise, but not something I'm super eager to do again.

Anyway, this collection of stories feels like it was borne of a similar exercise. Choose a historical
Love in Infant Monkeys reminded me why I don't read short stories. While I definitely got the impression that Millet is a good writer, I never connected with any of the characters in the stories. A good short story will leave me wanting - wanting more time with the characters, wanting more information on what happened, etc. In this book, there wasn't a single story where I really longed for more time with any of the characters.

As I thought back on this book, I realized that one reason I didn't e
Mike Williams
Love in Infant Monkeys was a 2010 Pulitzer Fiction finalist so it probably goes without saying that the book is well written. The book is actually a collection of short stories, each of which follows the theme of involving a well known figure and an animal. Madonna shooting a pheasant, Noam Chomsky donating a hamster cage, Thomas Edison electrocuting an elephant in 1903, and the list goes on. Millet injects a lot of humor into the stories, even those that are on the melancholy side, and the book ...more
Jun 07, 2010 Sally added it
This is more a 3.5 star rating--I appreciate the astute voice in these stories, but they seem, at times, devoid of genuine feeling. I appreciate the animals that populate the stories, and not so much the humans. perhaps that was a very intentional clever thing that millet aimed for. my favorite stories were "girl and giraffe", "love in infant monkeys", and "the lady and the dragon", which was very, very funny. the last one, "walking bird", was also oddly poignant, more so than most of the middle ...more
Deadpan economical sentences that take no prisoners.
Alternating stores about animals and celebrities that are deadly satirical or heart rending. "Lesbian separatist theorist Valencia-Sven has taken this bold hypothesis even further.." -that Thomas Edison had a homosexual relationship with his "man-servant". We find out that Thomas had a kind of fixation on a certain elephant in "Thomas Edison and Vasil Gorakov". In "The Lady and the Dragon", a ten foot Komodo lizard comes between a Sharon Ston
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- lead to many 'what ifs' which were quite comical
- several blocks where the narrators' thoughts are very agreeable (Page 34 "it was a free afternoon...") and while at the same time quite obvious it's like Lydia Millet was able to put put together coherently the thoughts I've traversed upon many times(and therefore was familiar with) but never able to word properly
- and perhaps because I didn't 'understand' the theme, devices, etc. but there's lots of room left for individual interpretations -
That's what I'm talking about, Lydia! You totally redeemed yourself from How the Dead the Dream, which I'm sorry, but that was a little disappointing. But this! This collection is worthy of praise. Don't listen to all the sayers of nay, talking shit about your 'gimmick' of celebrities and animals. It's something different and you carried it through each story beautifully. Congrats on the Pulitzer nod (or is it a nod if you win? Maybe you just got a Pulitzer 'wink'). Also, is it pronounced 'Mill- ...more
This collection of short stories has a peculiar mix of celebrities and animals. Some border on charming, such as Sexing the Pheasant (Madonna goes pheasant hunting and has a hilarious inner dialogue, complete with congratulating herself for using proper British slang) and The Lady and the Dragon (a Sharon Stone look-a-like is romanced with a Komodo dragon). Others, particularly the title story, Love in Infant Monkeys are disturbing and leave a bad taste in your mouth. So I guess I didn’t love it ...more
Great collection of short stories that revolve around an animal and/or a celebrity figure. "Sexing the Pheasant," was a highly enjoyable story about Madonna and her vapid-but-emotionally introspective commentary on hunting. I wish people handed out short stories for Christmas, because "StP" would definitely be a stocking stuffer. The rest of the collection was peopled with well sketched characters with believable but eccentric quirks and world views. Occasionally tongue-in-cheek, occasionally sm ...more
I typically like short story collections, and found this book enjoyable enough. Most stories begin with some actual news item involving a celebrity (either current, such as Madonna, or in the past, such as Thomas Edison) and an animal. Obviously I liked some stories more than others; some were sad and/or morbid, others fairly humorous. However, unlike a couple of people in my book group, I did not laugh out loud at any time during my reading. I can give this a "thumbs up," though, if you like sh ...more
This is a great book (though at times off color) for my IB kids...Millet is a bit gimmicky...she takes real people at crafts believable fiction around story revolves around David Hasselhoff's dog walker...another reveals gay tension between Edison and his valet...another looks at the downfall of the man who wrote BORN FREE...and so and so on...very strong motifs throughout the book...lots to ponder...Millet, like many before her, make mankind the vicious and the animals more spiritual ...more
Rita	 Marie
I am in awe of Lydia Millet's creativity. Alas I am not talented enough to describe the wonderfulness of this book. On the surface, it is a collection of short stories, each featuring an animal and a famous person. Underneath it is about life, the universe, and everything. It made me laugh, it made me think, it made me question my values.

Apparently the book was greatly lauded when it first came out, and that put many readers off. Reading it later, after all the fuss is over, is a better experie
This was a lot shorter than I had expected (perils of purchasing ebook on a whim) and yet I was relieved when I was finally done with it. Each story is about a relationship between a famous person and an animal or animals. Some were funny, some were profoundly disturbing. I wish I had realized (as I should have) that the title story refers to the monkey-motherhood experiments that proved monkey babies need a sense of companionship to grow up properly. I really enjoyed Madonna's story and I had a ...more
Sofía Ballesteros
Aquí hay un cuento muy gracioso de Madonna y un faisán.
"She cherished in the core of herself the benigness of being."
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Lydia Millet is the author of twelve previous books of fiction. Her novel Ghost Lights was a New York Times Notable Book; its sequel Magnificence was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle and Los Angeles Times Awards in fiction; and her story collectionLove in Infant Monkeys was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She lives outside Tucson, Arizona. ...more
More about Lydia Millet...
Mermaids in Paradise How the Dead Dream Magnificence: A Novel Ghost Lights: A Novel Oh Pure and Radiant Heart

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