Four unforgettable characters beckon you into this spellbinding new novel from the author of last year's explosive New York Times best seller - The Senator's Wife. First among them is Wilhelmina-Billy-Gertz, small as a child, fiercely independent, powerfully committed to her work as a playwright. The novel centers around her play, The Lake Shore Limited, about the terrorist bombing of that train-and about a man waiting to hear the fate of his estranged wife who is traveling on it. How Billy comes to write the play out of her own painful conflicts and ambivalence, how it is then created anew by the actors and the director, how the performance itself touches and changes the other characters' lives-these form the vital core of a story that drives the novel compulsively forward. There's not a wasted word in this tour de force about the dislocations wrought in our lives by accidents of fate and time, and about how we try to make peace with whom we become in the face of circumstances beyond our control.
Four people are bound together by the 9/11 death of a man in Miller's insightful latest. Leslie, older sister and stand-in mother to the late Gus, clings to the notion that Gus had found true love with his girlfriend, Billy, before he was killed. But the truth is more complicated: Billy, a playwright, has written a new play that explores the agonizing hours when a family gathers, not knowing the fate of their mother and wife who was aboard a train that has been bombed. The ambivalent reaction of the woman's husband has shades of Billy and Gus's relationship, particularly the limbo she's been in since he died. Rafe, the actor playing the ambivalent husband, processes his own grief and guilt about his terminally ill wife as he steps more and more into his character. Finally, there's Sam, an old friend Leslie now hopes to set up with Billy. While the plot doesn't have the suspense and zip of The Senator's Wife, Miller's take on post-9/11 America is fascinating and perfectly balanced with her writerly meditations on the destructiveness of trauma and loss, and the creation and experience of art. (Apr.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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April 05, 2010
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