Who is the Sweet Lamb of Heaven? That’s open to interpretation in Lydia Millet’s new page-turner. When Anna begins hearing voices after her daughter is born, she assumes that something is wrong with her and begins doing research into mental illness, strange phenomena, and even reincarnation. When her daughter starts talking, the voices abruptly cease, and recede from Anna’s thoughts. Anna’s marriage to a narcissistic, unfaithful husband unravels, and she finds herself fleeing their Alaska home and wandering the continental U.S. with her daughter in tow. She winds up in a small motel in Maine, bonds with the kindly proprietor, and finds herself feeling an odd sense of home. While visiting her parents for Thanksgiving, Anna’s husband calls and proposes a reunion, since he is running for office and desires the appearance of a happy family man. Anna decides to continue evading her spouse and returns to the motel. Surprising for the December, guests keep arriving and a community forms. When Anna’s husband kidnaps their daughter to force Anna into the beautiful family charade, the community rallies around her, and she learns the reason why this rag tag gang has come together; they have all heard the voices. What does it mean? Tension builds deliciously as Anna navigates around her husband’s cruel manipulation. The voters would sympathize if the lovely wife has a tragic accident, wouldn’t they?
Millet is a literary writer who takes risks with new subjects and genres. See my previous post, “Honeymoon Havoc,” to read more about Millet’s work.