Tuesday, April 20, 2010

55 - The Lake Shore Limited; Sue Miller















I've enjoyed Sue Miller's novels in the past, but the style of this novel is different.  In this story, four individuals, each carrying their own personal baggage, are brought together by a two act play called, The Lake Shore Limited.  The play takes place at a small theater in Boston.  The play hits home on many levels. The main character, Rafe, learns that there has been a terrorist bombing on the train that his wife was a passenger on in Chicago's Union Station. To make matters worst, he was planning on leaving her for another woman prior to the bombing.

The playwright, Wilhelmina (Billy) Gertz, experienced a similar event. She was living with Gus, and she was planning to end their relationship when he was killed on one of the 9/11 planes, years earlier. The other two individuals are Leslie, sister of the late Gus, and, Sam, who was once in love with Leslie.  Each of the four individuals are struggling with some heavy issues: the terminal illness of a spouse, a grieving widow without a sense of loss, a grieving sister who can't let go, and a lonely man who raised three children after his wife passed from cancer.

The novel begs the reader to ask themselves, if there is a proper way to feel and act when life throws us a curve ball. The story is a rich character study, about individuals trying to come to terms with events of the past and present; that I liked, as their issues seemed realistic. I think the story was just way to slow moving for me for a short novel. In the end when I weighed it all, I felt a bit underwhelmed. I will be looking forward to more novels by Sue Miller. This is one of those novels that you need to read for yourself and decided. (Rating - 3.5/5 stars)

(Review Copy Received from the Publisher)

16 comments:

  1. The book sounds thought provoking, and quite sad. I think I'd have to be in the right mood to read it.

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  2. I really want to read this one, too. UGH! This might move down on my pile now.

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  3. I enjoyed While I Was Gone and want to read this one as well. I rather like a slow story myself so I think I might like it. Thanks for not giving too much of the story away. I look forward to reading it.

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  4. Hmm... this one sounds interesting. It's on my wish list, but I'm not in any great hurry to read it. I haven't read a Sue Miller book in a while.

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  5. I picked this up at the bookstore tonight and decided against it. After reading so many of this year's Orange Prize nominees, which were super-depressing, I don't know if I can take any more right now. Maybe one day...

    Great review, as always!

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  6. I had mixed feelings about this one, too. She's one of my favorite authors, but a little "underwhelmed" is a good way to describe it, compared to the rest of her novels. Still glad I read it, though...

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  7. sounds too heavy for me. add in slow and I'll pass

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  8. Good to know because I was thinking of picking this one up since I loved a Senator's Wife so much. Thanks for the review!

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  9. This does sound sad. But I too like realistic issues.

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  10. I've loved Sue Miller too, and couldn't help think that what you were describing sounded a bit familiar - sounds like it has a lot of the same issues of While You Were Gone...

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  11. I don't think I have heard of Sue Miller. I will have to look her books up.

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  12. It sounds very sad, and also, I don't know if I would enjoy a book that moves so slowly. I will have to do more research into the book to find out if it's a good fit for me. Thanks for your honest review!

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  13. I've had mixed reactions to Sue Miller novels in the past. In some, I find her characters infuriatingly passive - I just want to shake them when they stand by and let things happen to themselves (like in The Good Mother). Other novels of hers I've enjoyed more, like The Senator's Wife.

    This one sounds interesting. Thanks for the review!

    Sue

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  14. This novel does sound sad but I'm curious about it. It's on my tbr pile somewhere.

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  15. I've not read anything by Sue Miller so can't comment but I would like to try her one day. Thanks for reviewing this one, Diane!

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  16. I'm with you. It was more thought-provoking than enjoyable, but I love Miller's writing.

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