Ellen's Reviews > The Lake Shore Limited

The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller
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's review
Jun 26, 10

bookshelves: boston, contemporary, death
Read from June 24 to 26, 2010

I just finished listening to Sue Miller narrate her own work. Sometimes authors do superbly (Sherman Alexie, Neil Gaiman) and sometimes they flop (Madeleine L'engle.) Miller makes a fair job of it, but maybe she should have taken a cue from Billy, her playwright protagonist, and let an actor do the job. Billy, who seemed to me rather prickly and self-deceiving, gets a sympathetic reading from Miller.

The Lake Shore Limited (name of book, name of play in the book) looks at how loss affects the lives of four survivors. Leslie, the brother of a man who perished on 9/11, introduces Sam, whose wife died of cancer, to Billy, who was Leslie's brother's lover. Rafe, the lead actor in Billy's 9/11 inspired play, is caring for a wife with ALS. But although the description may sound like a soap opera, the interior monologues remind me more of Virginia Woolf. Or Henry James who always picked, picked, picked away at the insubstantial.

I didn't love the characters, but here's the thing--they all did the best they could. And I will keep thinking about them, especially Rafe, whose hardest days may be ahead of him.

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