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While I Was Gone [Paperback]

Sue Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Mar 2009
Perhaps it's best to live with the possibility that around any corner, at any time, may come the person who reminds you of your own capacity to surprise yourself, to put at risk everything that's dear to you Thirty years ago Jo Becker's bohemian life ended when she found her best friend brutally murdered. Now Jo has everything: work she loves, a devoted husband, three grown daughters and a beautiful home. But when an old friend settles in her small town, the fabric of Jo's life begins to unravel, as she enters a relationship that returns her to the darkest moments of her past, imperilling all that she loves.

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While I Was Gone + For Love + The Distinguished Guest
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747599262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747599265
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 271,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'An astonishing mix of the warm, complex and frightening ... the stuff of real life that is rarely conveyed in fiction' Julie Myerson, Mail on Sunday 'A moving story of secrets, lies and murder' The Times 'A beautiful and frightening book ... Many readers will find it difficult to forget' New York Times Book Review 'A dark page-turner' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

About the Author

Sue Miller is the internationally bestselling author of the books The Good Mother, Family Pictures, For Love, Inventing The Abbots, The World Below, The Story of My Father, Lost in the Forest and The Senator's Wife. She lives in Boston.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional 10 Jun 2011
I've read a few Sue Miller books but this was my first and, in my opinion, far outshines the others. Her others were okay, she does have a great writing style. This book, however, was exceptional. I borrowed it from the library initially and actually went out and bought it afterwards. The plot is gripping, her characters achingly real, her description of emotion spot on and razor-sharp, she is unbelievably perceptive. I have read this book more than once, it is superb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Genius for Self-Sabotage 10 Sep 2012
By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I decided to read some Sue Miller after I read an article comparing her to Tessa Hadley. From this, and Miller's 'For Love' (which I couldn't get through) I would say that, for me at least, while Miller shares Hadley's interest in the lives of middle class intellectuals, she lacks some of Hadley's warm human touch, and relies more on sensationalism.

'While I Was Gone' is in part a thriller, in part a psychological examination of a woman in middle age looking back on her past. In her early twenties, Jo Becker suffered a life crisis. She walked out of her marriage, got a job in a bar in Boston and assumed a false name, moving into a hippyish shared house, where her co-lodgers included neuroscience student Eli, lawyer Sara, drop-out John, classical guitarist Duncan and, most important to Jo, Polish/American sculptress and life-model Dana. For nearly a year, Jo enjoys a cheerful bohemian way of existence - until the cold January night when she comes home and finds Dana stabbed to death in the sitting room. Thirty years on and Jo has a totally different, very happy life. She is married to a pastor, and works as a vet, living in a small town in Massachusetts. She has three daughters, one working in film production, one (the difficult one) singing in a band and trying to become a model, and one at university. Apart from some worries about Cassie, the musician daughter, Jo gets on very well with her children and still loves her husband. But then she gets a visitation from the past, when Eli, her former co-lodger, turns up in her home town with his new wife Jean. And suddenly, Jo is afflicted with restlessness. Eli seems to want to talk to her, to meet her alone. Does Jo really want to escape her current life and have an affair with him? And is this quite what Eli has in mind?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 20 Sep 2013
I read this many years ago but on re-reading it recently I had to leave a review. This is an excellent portrait of a long-term marriage, warts and all, put under strain by external forces. The characters are real, flawed and forgivable and I found the examination of the marriage, and the bearing of the past on the present, a really good, engaging read.
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