Lydia Millet’s Post-Human Prose

Katy Waldman at The New Yorker:

The novelist Lydia Millet once told an interviewer that when she first moved to New York, in 1996, she was “amazed” by how people were “relentlessly interested in exclusively the human self.” This myopia—a sort of “inarticulate, ambient smugness about everything”—wasn’t her creed. Millet, who now lives near Tucson, has written more than a dozen books of fiction, one of which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, but she works at the Center for Biological Diversity and holds a master’s in environmental policy. As in life, so in art. Increasingly, fiction studies the “arc of the private individual,” Millet told another interviewer: “The personal struggles of a self and the ultimate triumph of that self over the obstacles in its path.” But Millet is energized, instead, by how feelings are “intermeshed with abstract thought,” with “our place in the wider landscape.” Why, her work demands, are we afraid to die? What are the ethics of wanting what we want?

more here.