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Book Cover for: We Loved It All: A Memory of Life, Lydia Millet

We Loved It All: A Memory of Life

Lydia Millet

Reader Score


78% of readers

recommend this book

Critic Reviews


Based on 7 reviews on

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Across more than a dozen acclaimed works of fiction, readers have become intimate with Lydia Millet's distinctive voice and sly wit. We Loved It All, her first nonfiction book, combines the precision of fact with the power of narrative to evoke our enmeshment with the more-than-human world.

Emerging from Millet's quarter century of wildlife and climate advocacy, We Loved it All marries scenes from her life with moments of nearness to "the others"-- the animals and plants with whom we share the earth. Accounts of fears and failures, jobs and friendships, childhood and motherhood are interspersed with exquisite accounts of nonhumans and arresting meditations on the power of story to shape the future.

Seeking to understand why we immerse ourselves in the domestic and immediate, turning away from more sweeping views, she examines how grand cultural myths can deny our longing for the company of nature and deprive us of its charisma and inspiration. In a thrilling distillation of experience and emotion, she evinces the familiar sense of feeling both well-meaning and powerless--a creature subject to forces that are baffling in their immensity. The fear and grief of extinction and climate change, Millet suggests, are forms of love that might be turned to resistance.

We Loved It All shimmers with curiosity and laconic humor yet addresses with reverence the most urgent crises of our day. An incantatory, bewitching devotional to the vast and precious bestiary of the earth, it asks that we extend to other living beings the protection they deserve--the simple grace of continued existence.

Book Details

  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish Date: Apr 2nd, 2024
  • Pages: 272
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.10in - 6.30in - 1.10in - 1.00lb
  • EAN: 9781324073659
  • Categories: Environmental Conservation & Protection - GeneralSubjects & Themes - Animals & NatureEssays

About the Author

Millet, Lydia: - Lydia Millet is the author of A Children's Bible, shortlisted for the National Book Award and a New York Times Top 10 book of 2020. Her many other works of fiction have won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She holds a master's degree in environmental economics and works at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Critics’ reviews

Praise for this book

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
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
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
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