Nicholas's Reviews > The Lake Shore Limited

The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller
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's review
Dec 19, 2011

really liked it
Read in December, 2011

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Sue Miller doesn't get the credit she deserves. No doubt she sells well and she publishes with reputable presses, but I feel like she's consigned to the fluff pile too often. And this stuff is not fluffy.

In The Lake Shore Limited she ponders the question of what happens when a spouse or lover dies and one might have wanted to break it off with that person pre-death. This also allows her to explore the greater question of how we all deal with grief and people's expectations for how grieving people should behave. The story is told through four characters: a playwright who lost her boyfriend on 9/11 and writes a play about a man who may or may not have lost his wife in another terrorist attack; the boyfriend's sister who mourns for him but is also trying to figure out her own marriage; the actor who plays the possibly grieving husband (and whose own wife is dying); and a friend of the sister whose own first wife dies young. All of these people interact with each other as the narrative moves back and forth over a period of a few years. There's a lot of death, but it's not especially maudlin because it's so much more about how people live in the midst of death.

As always Miller is interested in tackling complicated questions about relationships and all the stuff that people don't like to admit that they think about in relation to their lovers and spouses and relatives and friends. And she continues to write very well.

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