With insight and intelligence, Sue Miller explores the intricates of family and love
Lottie Gardner, her brother, Cameron, and their childhood friend Elizabeth have all come together in their hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, after years of separation. Lottie is barraged with memories of the past as she packs up her mother’s house and witnesses the rekindling of an old romance between Cameron and Elizabeth. When a senseless tragedy intrudes upon them, Lottie is forced to examine the consequences of what she has done for love.
“A tour dew force by any standards…One reason for Miller’s popularity is that she earns her fans in a time-honored way: she writes for readers.”
“Vivid realism, insight and understanding…Ms. Miller writes with wisdom, compassion, and an almost palpable sense of reality about the ambiguous and difficult choices that…at one time or another, life demands of us.”
“Each of her characters is complete and distinctive, a compendium of lovable and exasperating traits…Each character has a turn at capturing our full attention.”
—Los Angeles Times”
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They looked at each other, both full of the wish to injure, to hurt. “Do you hear how you sound?” he said. “How ugly you sound? If you were Megan, I’d send you to your room.”
“How inconvenient for you that you can’t. That you have to listen to someone for once.”
“I don’t. I don’t have to listen to this …garbage.”
He started from the room, and she grabbed his arm. Something gave, stitches popped audibly in his sleeve. They stopped. Lottie was aware of a pang of confused feeling have to do with his size – how much smaller she was than he, like a child – and with how badly she was behaving. She thought, suddenly, of her reading about love, and she was swept with a sense of the absurdity of their argument, even of their dilemma.
They stood still, looking at each other for a moment. One of his eyelids was pulsing erratically with fatigue. She wanted to end this, somehow. She stepped back and said, in a little girl’s voice, “You’re not the boss of what love is.”
If they hadn’t both raised children, if they hadn’t both been middle-aged, it might not have worked. But his face opened in relief, his shoulders dropped, and he laughed. Half an hour or so later, when they were side by side in bed in the dark, he spoke suddenly, intensely, as though they’d been in steady conversation all along: “We can get through this, Lottie. I know we can. It’s just time. Just give me some time.”
Lottie was dizzy with sleepiness, but she reached over in response and touched his shoulder.