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The Lake Shore Limited Paperback – 1 May 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408807335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408807330
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.3 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,112,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


`Reading Sue Miller is like watching an invisible painter create a lovely, affecting work in smooth, expert strokes. Hovering close to her characters' smallest musings, Miller yet manages a pace both crisp and capacious...

In Miller's shrewd vision, people don't always play nicely - but the worst turmoil occurs within. Her signature gift is to lay out intricate, discomfiting truths in graceful, clear sentences that never fail to engross and comfort...

The astute New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani has noted, of Miller's oeuvre, that Miller "suggests that people have a primal need to ... figure out who they really feel themselves to be and why they've made the choices that they have." Richly layered, these self-examinations drive "The Lake Shore Limited" to a subtle, piquant, satisfying closing. What seems oddly striking is the hushed quality all that interiority lends a drama generated, this time, by the external noise and chaos of an unforgettable September day.' --The San Francisco Chronicle

`Matthew Arnold said about Wordsworth's poetry that it had no "style," not to dispraise it but to distinguish him from other poets. Like her predecessor, Miller seeks and impressively succeeds in finding what Wordsworth called "a plainer and more emphatic language" to express "essential passions of the heart." Her art is to find those passions and that language' --The Boston Globe

`Miller's exquisite new novel, "The Lake Shore Limited," is so sophisticated and thoughtful that it should either help redeem the term "women's literature" or free her from it once and for all...This is emotional terrain some people won't feel comfortable in, but it's gorgeously drawn and told with stark honesty.' --The Washington Post

`By writing alternating sections of the novel from different characters' points of view, Ms. Miller not only conveys the subjectivity of all experience but also succeeds in creating a haunting chamber-music piece with many different solos.

The result is her most nuanced and unsentimental novel to date. This is a book that does not depend on big, noisy plot developments, topical issues or deliberately withheld secrets to create suspense. Rather, its power grows from Ms. Miller's intimate understanding of her characters... and from her Chekhovian understanding of missed connections, lost opportunities, and closely held memories that mutate slowly over time... Ms. Miller gives us a knowing meditation upon the acts of alchemy and theft that constitute an artist's work: a meditation that sheds light on her own craft, so meticulously showcased in this novel.' --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Book Description

A moving novel of four lives in the shadow of 9/11, from the author of Richard & Judy bestseller The Senator's Wife --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I found this novel to be Sue Miller at her best. There are many interesting levels and layers, her characters are so real, so human and their inner worlds are achingly honest. It deals with loss, guilt, confusion, loneliness, social fears and ultimately coming to terms with one's own reality - however difficult that process should be. If you enjoy Sue Miller, Anita Shreve, Elisabeth Berg - you'll love this book!
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By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 May 2010
Format: Audio CD
When an author reads his or her own work quite often an awareness, an understanding not only of the story but of a character's psycheto enriches the narration. These subtleties of meaning would be difficult for even the best trained actors access but it is all there in the mind of the author who, after all, is the creator of the tale. Such is certainly the case with Sue Miller's narration of her 11th novel THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED.

It is a story hinging on a play penned by Wilhelmina "Billy Gertz, a complex figure who reflects emotions that many of us feel, anger, conflict, a desire for validation. Six years ago Gus, Billy's lover, was killed in a 9/11 plane crash. The couple had been cohabiting but Billy intended to end their relationship. Now, with Gus dead she's unwittingly placed into the position of being thought a tragic figure, a widow - sort of. After this length of time she is more than ready to move on.

Leslie, Gus's sister is unable or unwilling to do the same. She holds on to Billy, presumably either in memory of or to honor Gus, despite her husband's pleas to let go. In Boston, as the opening of Billy's play nears, Leslie issues an invitation she believes helpful - she invites Sam to meet Billy after the performance.

Billy's play concerns the terrorist bombing of a train as it pulls into Chicago's Union Station. A man is waiting to hear whether or not his estranged wife who was on the train managed to escape alive. A parallel between the way Billy waited for news of Gus? Of course. Rafe, the lead actor in the play delivers an astounding performance, only to be filled with regret that he has called upon the impending death of his wife to provide the tears he needs to shed on stage.
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Format: Paperback
More an in depth character study than an "so engrossing I can't stop reading it" novel, Sue Miller's latest offering examines the complexity of relationships with the subjects of loss and guilt taking center stage as the featured players. The four individuals whose intersecting lives are scrutinized are members of a group who have gathered at a small Boston theater to attend the opening of a new play about a terrorist attack on a Chicago bound train called THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED.

Told from the vantage points of `the four", and filled with an abundance of symbolism and metaphoric references the story is in many ways reminiscent of Michael Cunningham's THE HOURS. All of Miller's characters have experienced tragedy and loss of one sort or another and Miller has put a window into the hearts and minds of the characters as they reminisce about past mistakes and fateful decisions. One has an invalid wife who has been cruelly crippled by Lou Gehrig's disease, another has lost her brother in the 9-11 terrorist attacks, a third is a widower with three adult children from whom he is alienated, the fourth is a playwright who is trying to purge her feelings of guilt by committing them to paper (and ultimately to the stage). Each one struggles for resolution and absolution. The struggles are long and at times tedious for the reader.

Ultimately we discover that THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED is a more than appropriate title for this book and an apt metaphor for its contents since every one of the characters depicted therein seems to be carrying an accumulation of enough personal baggage to last a lifetime.
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