December 03, 2004



Omnivores, her first novel, was also great. A very freaky nuclear family tale, just what I needed at the time...

Jenny D

Great interview! I'm definitely getting hold of a copy of this one--sounds like a very good read. Soft Skull published my novel too, and I completely agree with Lydia Millet's assessment of their smarts.


Great questions, Mark, great interview, GREAT IDEA!

Edward Dulinski

Great Book, recommend to anyone.

Paul Ohannesian

I have just finished reading Lydia Millet's "Oh Pure and Radiant Heart" and have been deeply moved and greatly entertained, both, by the book. Like her, I am horrified and disgusted by the direction the United States government and so many of the naive citizens of the country have taken in recent years. Though I was born and went to school in Los Angeles, I have been a Canadian since 1970, and in these dark times I feel a great sense of sadness over the tragedy of America's squandering of its huge potential for good in the world. Lydia Millet has helped me to comprehend how this insanity has come about. Thank you, Ms. Millet. Now I intend to seek out more of your writing!

PBO --- Vancouver, B.C., Canada 2 Aug. 2005

Paul Ohannesian

I have just finished reading Lydia Millet's "Oh Pure and Radiant Heart". I have been both entertained and horrified by her insights. I was born in Los Angeles and went to school there, but since 1970 I have been a Canadian. I watch the downward spiral of American culture and national life with terrible sadness and great fear; Ms. Millet's book goes far to help explain to me my own emotions. In my opinion, the American experiment in democracy is nearer to failure right now than at any other time in the country's history. What courage and sheer intelligence Lydia Millet brings to her study of this spectacle. Though I hope for better times, I fear and dread what might come instead. Please, Ms. Millet, keep on writing such books -- they are needed now more than ever before!

PBO - Vancouver, B.C. Canada 2 August 2005


Forthcoming readings at UCLA Hammer Museum: September 11 Samantha Chang
September 18 Jill Ciment & Amy Hempel
October 9 Rick Moody
October 16 Robert Coover & Brian Evenson
October 30 Mary Gaitskill
November 6 Geoff Dyer


One more thing: The great Lydia will reading this Sunday the 14th at UCLA Hammer Museum, 6pm, free

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
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