Dinosaurs: Book summary and reviews of Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet

Dinosaurs

A Novel

by Lydia Millet

Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet X
Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet
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About this book

Book Summary

Over twelve novels and two collections Lydia Millet has emerged as a major American novelist. Hailed as "a writer without limits" (Karen Russell) and "a stone-cold genius" (Jenny Offill), Millet makes fiction that vividly evokes the ties between people and other animals and the crisis of extinction.

Dinosaurs is the story of a man named Gil who walks from New York to Arizona to recover from a failed love. After he arrives, new neighbors move into the glass-walled house next door and his life begins to mesh with theirs. In this warmly textured, drily funny, and philosophical account of Gil's unexpected devotion to the family, Millet explores the uncanny territory where the self ends and community begins―what one person can do in a world beset by emergencies. In the shadow of existential threat, where does hope live?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Millet returns with a brilliant story of survival, one subtler and more effective than the NBA-shortlisted A Children's Bible (2020)...Her character work—notably of the men—is precise and stunning, as she locates their foibles and virtues, and injects a surprisingly moving dose of optimism into Gil and the married couple as they try to endure. This wonderful and dynamic writer is at the top of her game." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] gentle, meditative novel...Another life-affirming work from a writer who always carves her own literary path." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A]n intriguing portrait of a lonesome man trying to do good in a grim world." - Booklist (starred review)

"More tender and less mercurial than anything Lydia Millet has written before, this is an elegant, subtle novel of profound emotional heft and deceptively simple prose of immense power, ending on a grace note that marks a high point in the author's career." - Library Journal

"Tender but never sentimental, wearing its intelligence in a low-slung style, Dinosaurs is a garden of earthly delights." - Vogue

This information about Dinosaurs was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Catharine L. (Petoskey, MI)

Dinasours
Gil, independently wealthy at 45, has few friends and no family. He feels guilty about the money and spends his time volunteering. The book is about his developing relationship with the family next door.
This is a simple story - dryly funny, insightful, and emotionally moving.
I enjoy her writing and would also recommend A Children's Bible and Mermaids in Paradise.

Lynn D. (Kingston, NY)

People in glass houses
I really enjoyed this quiet, thoughtful novel. The main character, Gil, is looking for a new start and for purpose in his life, having no need to 'make a living.' Along the way he exemplifies his humanity in his daily life with his neighbors and others. He cares for the desert birds, the surviving dinosaurs, and we're asked to wonder if they can survive the changing world. Gil doesn't see violence as the answer to conflict, but rather it's relationships that give us life and freedom. Beautifully written. Would be great for book clubs.

Eileen C. (New York, NY)

Life-affirming
In this gentle novel, Lydia Millet uses deceptively simple prose to explore the psychological intricacies of a wealthy, 45-year-old white man, uncomfortable with his privilege, who is trying to do good in the world. This seemingly quiet novel is actually a powerful and moving exploration of ordinary human cruelty, all the different forms love can take, and the importance of human relationships. It would make an excellent book club selection.

Darlene G. (Allegany, NY)

Why Five Stars? Or Very Good
I gave this book five stars. One for its starkness, perhaps like the glass wall of the neighbors' home- clear, economical, and open to the wider world. Two for the protagonist who is kind, naïve and grows kinder as he becomes wiser. Three, for creating complex characters that burp, fart, swear and are mostly lovable anyhow, without losing sight that there are humans who are not kind (yet). Four, for an easy and unusual read whose structure was interesting and accessible. Five, for its invitation to see, forgive, be better, and keep love at the center as best as we can. Although the connection to Dinosaurs becomes clear early in the book, I see this as a brilliant allegory.

Judy G. (Carmel, IN)

Dinosaurs Still Reign
I highly recommend this book for book club discussions. This was the best book I've read this year. Moderately paced writing that describes daily life for the key characters yet consistently and deftly introduces new and timely discussion topics throughout the book. Best for readers who like to think about what and how we are to be in this world as well as what the role of animals in nature is meant to be. Excellent writing and subjects!

Helia R. (Goodlettsville, TN)

We need more men like Gil
I love this book so much I'd marry it if I weren't already married. As things stand, my rushed affair with Millet's novel left me feeling bereft when it was over. At 230 pages, the book is slim and easy to gobble up in two sittings. Take your time, reader, to savor this compulsive story so it may last you a while longer. There's much to relish: the relatable characters all but one of whom I wish could be my friends; the themes of love, loss, privilege, and purpose; the spare and elegant prose that manages to highlight just the right kind of detail. A novel for anyone hoping for a bit of light and enlightenment in what too often feels like dark times.

...14 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Lydia Millet Author Biography

Photo: Ivory Orchid Photography

Lydia Millet has written more than a dozen novels and story collections. Her novel A Children's Bible was a New York Times "Best 10 Books of 2020" selection and shortlisted for the National Book Award. In 2019 her story collection Fight No More received an Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. She also writes essays, opinion pieces, book reviews, and other ephemera and has worked as an editor and staff writer at the Center for Biological Diversity since 1999. She lives in the desert outside Tucson with her family.

Link to Lydia Millet's Website

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