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Miller's Valley Paperback – 6 Jun 2017
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|Paperback, 6 Jun 2017||
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"Overwhelmingly moving . . . In this novel, where so much is about what vanishes, there is also a deep beating heart, of what also stays."--The New York Times Book Review"Stunning . . . The matriarchal theme [is] at the heart of Miller's Valley. Miriam pushes her smart daughter to consider college, and other women--a teacher, a doctor, a benefactor--will raise Mimi up past the raging waters that swirl in her heart."--The Washington Post "Economical and yet elegant . . . [Anna Quindlen's] storytelling and descriptive powers make Miller's Valley compelling. . . . Miller's Valley has a geography and fate all its own but its residents, realities, disappointments, joys and cycle of life feel familiar, in the best way possible."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "A family story with humor, surprise, sorrow and mystery . . . Quindlen has created distinctive characters, none of whom seems like anyone you've met before in fiction."--The Columbus Dispatch "A breathtakingly moving look at a family."--USA Today "[Anna] Quindlen's provocative novel will have you flipping through the pages of your own family history and memories even as you can't stop reading about the Millers. . . . a coming-of-age story that reminds us that the past continues to wash over us even as we move away from the places and events that formed us."--Chicago Tribune "Picking up a novel by Anna Quindlen means more than just meeting a new family--it's like moving in and pretending they are yours. It's a rare gift for a writer, and Quindlen does it to near perfection."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Quindlen's novel of a childhood examined by someone who literally can't go home again is an incredibly engaging read. . . . Miller's Valley takes familiar themes and manages to make them fresh and new."--Bust
Praise for the bestselling fiction of Anna Quindlen
"Anna Quindlen knows that all the things we will ever be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family."--The Washington Post, about Object Lessons "There comes a moment in every novelist's career when she . . . ventures into new territory, breaking free into a marriage of tone and style, of plot and characterization, that's utterly her own. Anna Quindlen's marvelous romantic comedy of manners is just such a book. . . . Quindlen has delivered a novel that will have staying power all its own."--The New York Times Book Review, about Still Life with Bread Crumbs "Anna Quindlen writes about family with all the humanity, wit, and pain of going home."--Wendy Wasserstein, about One True Thing "Anna Quindlen is America's resident Sane Person. She has what Joyce called the common touch, the ability to speak to many people about what's on their minds before they have the vaguest idea what's on their minds."--The New York Times, about Blessings "Quindlen knows words, and she knows women."--More, about Rise and Shine "Quindlen's writing . . . wraps the reader in the warmth and familiarity of domestic life."--The Seattle Times, about Every Last One
About the Author
Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction, and self-help bestseller lists. She is the author of eight novels: Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, Every Last One, Still Life with Bread Crumbs, and Miller's Valley. Her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, published in 2012, was a number one New York Times bestseller. Her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life has sold more than a million copies. While a columnist at The New York Times she won the Pulitzer Prize and published two collections, Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. Her Newsweek columns were collected in Loud and Clear.
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Narrator Mary Margaret Miller is the youngest child of Miriam, a fiercely efficient nurse and mother, and Bud, a cattle farmer whose sideline fixing broken down household appliances brings in a few extra cents. Mary Margaret (called Mimi by everyone except her mother) has two much older brothers: Ed, who has managed to escape the valley by carving out a career in the city as an engineer, and charismatic Tom whose exit visa is provided by the US Marines. He returns from Vietnam a much changed man. Miriam’s sister Ruth lives in a property on the premises, a house she has not stepped outside of for more than ten years. Miriam – possibly the most interesting character in this novel – is determined that her daughter’s smart, scientifically-inclined brain must be allowed to reach its full potential; she has only to look at the deteriorating homesteads in the valley to see the inherent dangers of stagnation.
This quiet family story is told in the most unshowy, unflashy of prose, drawing the reader in by virtue of the strength of its characters, the interest of its setting and the appeal of its intelligent, sympathetic narrator. Warmly recommended.
In Miller's Valley the community is threatened with evacuation to make way for a new reservoir, but this is less important than the trials and tribulations facing one family in particular. Told in the first person, Mimi Miller reveals her hopes and aspirations, fears and exasperations, as she faces the conflict between leaving to pursue a career and staying to look after her family. Her friends and family have their eccentricities but they are totally believable. My only criticism of the book is that I never felt I got really close to Mimi. She remained slightly detached from the other characters – and from me as a reader. And I wasn't convinced by the friendship/romance with her childhood friend Donald. The lack of contact over many years wasn't really explained. I enjoyed the book, but perhaps I won't go searching for more by the same author.
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