A review of
How the Dead Dream
by Lydia Millet
The story of Thomas is the story of a man with an inborn facility for all things economic. Called T. by his family, friends, and a close third-person narrator, he grows from a child with a fetish for American currency—secreting money in his mattress and on his person—to a successful real estate developer. And yet—against all expectations—he is not a villain. He remains sympathetic, in an Alex P. Keaton (from Family Ties) sort of way. His early childhood schemes for the accumulation of capital, as amoral as they are, tend to be comic and charming enough to keep us on his side. The villain of the story is institutional and biological—the institutions that lead to the expansion of the civilized world, and to the desire to procreate and expand the population.
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