We Loved It All
A Memory of Life
by Lydia Millet
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Pub Date 02 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2024
A personal evocation of the glory of nature, our vexed position in the animal kingdom, and the difficulty of adoring what we destroy.
Acclaimed novelist Lydia Millet’s first work of nonfiction, We Loved It All, is a genre-defying tour de force that makes an impassioned argument for people to see their emotional and spiritual lives as infinitely dependent on the lives of nonhuman beings.
Drawing on a quarter-century of experience as an advocate for endangered species at the Center for Biological Diversity, Millet offers intimate portraits of what she calls “the others”—the extraordinary animals with whom we still share the world, along with those already lost.
Humans, too, fill this book, as Millet touches on the lives of her world-traveling parents, fascinating partners and friends, and colorful relatives, from diplomats to nut farmers—all figures in the complex tapestry each of us weaves with the surrounding world.
Written in the tradition of Annie Dillard or Robert Macfarlane, We Loved It All is an incantatory work that will appeal to anyone concerned about the future of life on earth—including our own.
About the Author: Lydia Millet is the author of A Children's Bible, a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times Top 10 book of 2020, among other works of fiction. She has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters and been shortlisted for the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
"We have all been the beneficiary of Lydia Millet's eloquence and imagination through fiction. But now she gives us a different kind of story, a story of stunning attention, truths, and urgency based on her own wild life. We Loved It All is an ode to the creatures we live among: finned, feathered, furred, scaled, and rooted. I needed this book to feel less alone...Millet's relationship with the natural world is its own joyous anthem of belonging. This is a rigorous, evocative, brilliant bow to life, even as the world burns. Please read this transformative anti-memoir that shows us a way forward." - Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion: Essays of Undoing
"Lydia Millet's We Loved It All is at once lyrical and densely packed, intimate and all-encompassing. It beautifully captures the current moment, in all its terrors and possibilities." - Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction and H is for Hope
"Lydia Millet’s novels have always worked on me like a drug; the combination of her tenderly sardonic voice and the command of her uncanny narrative velocity, which keeps me turning pages like burning through a bag of chips without stopping to lick the salt off my fingers. Her book-length philosophical memoir, We Loved It All, reproduces those distinctions, and will break your heart." - Jonathan Lethem, author of Brooklyn Crime Novel
"I love reading Lydia Millet, delight in the pithy observations of her all-seeing eye, and I suspect her many admirers will be smitten with We Loved It All. This deep-time story of our immersion with Earth’s wild creatures—and our hapless modern attempts to escape nature—is something different from her novels, but the Millet voice is fully present. I’m not sure there’s a better educated-enviro-activist-grounded-in-science approach to natural history out there." - Dan Flores, best-selling author of Wild New World and Coyote America
"Magic words, beautiful thoughts, an altogether unique book that allows you to watch a gorgeous mind at work. There is, quite apart from the magic of her writing, not a single page where you won't learn something new. We Loved It All will leave you breathless." - Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Lost Companions and When Elephants Weeps
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Average rating from 4 members
This book should be mandatory reading.
So much relevancy and passion about the state of our ecosystem, it felt like parts were a love letter to Mother Earth and other parts a deep manifesto on how we can and should do better on an environmental level.
This reminded me a bit of Braiding Sweet Grass, it had enough of a biographical component with knowledge surrounding nature. Highly recommend for anyone into climate fiction and non fiction alike.