Megan Harlan
June 28, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Omnivores

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Lydia Millet
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

All manner of voracious American appetites — for sex, power, and possessions — are darkly lampooned in this strange, often very funny debut. Teenage heroine Estee is a prisoner of her rich, redneck, megalomaniacal father, who conducts frightening scientific experiments and forms his own country (with trained rabbits for soldiers). The reader shares Estee’s relief when, at age 18, she escapes this grotesque world for the Los Angeles penthouse of an acquaintance, the cheerfully sleazy alpha yuppie Pete Magnus. Lydia Millet has great fun spoofing Estee’s befuddled attempts to learn the ways of ”normal” American life — shopping, watching television. Omnivores‘s deft prose saves much of the sheer wackiness from feeling self-conscious, often resulting in sly, startling satire. B

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