In spite of very lukewarm reviews by other readers, I enjoyed this book. Its appeal to me lay in the way that Susan Miller described the main protagonists using very penetrating and complex characterizations.
The play, about a terrorist act, that is staged at the beginning of the novel, is a well constructed device for the examination of art paralleling life. It connects the characters and separates them as they see themselves reflected in art.
Told from multiple perspectives, the narrative took me deep into an examination of each individual's life, but still successfully maintained a connection between the other characters –and to the play. To me, this was a mesmerizing conceit, keeping me immersed in each chapter while eagerly anticipating the next one.
Miller is a master at mixing descriptive passages, plot movement, and character insight in order to produce a gripping and suspenseful read.
Have you ever had someone tell you the plot of a movie? Usually kids do this and it's rather tedious, isn't it? I was really worried as I read through the first section of this book because much of it involves a character's recounting an entire play. It's only as you enter into the viewpoints of the three other characters in this novel that it becomes clear why we need to know about the play.
So that's my caveat: you will be treated to Sue Miller's extraordinary ability to tell a story from differing viewpoints, revealing truths while exposing individual blind-spots. But you'll have to sit through that play first. It will be worth it.
I really enjoyed this book. Sue Miller has a way of getting me involved in the lives of the characters. Regardless of whether or not I like them - they interest me.
book club read - didn't like it much!
Wow. I was really surprised by the other comments. I love Sue Miller and this was my favorite of all her books so far. I thought a lot happened. A character dies and the person left behind has to cope with the idea that she didn't love him as much as she could have/should have. Powerful and resonant, this book really spoke to me.
In Sue Miller's The Lake Shore Limited, not a lot happens. Instead we get character's that are so convincingly difficult that it becomes tough going for the reader to find anything redemptive about them. Basically a group of spoiled adults surrounding a play hurt each other. The roundabout and jerky narration, absent plot and humor, wisdom, doesn't help matters. Though Miller's use of language is at times striking, I still struggled to finish this one.
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