Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Lake Shore Limited

Accidents. It’s interesting to examine the many ways in which novelists grapple with the events of 9/11/2001 and find different ways to express this in their work. Sue Miller uses a story within a story model for her novel, The Lake Shore Limited. A playwright, Billy Gertz, writes about a train accident caused by a terrorist. Her lover, Gus, died in a 9/11 plane crash. Gus’s sister, Leslie, grieves for him through maintaining a relationship with Billy, without knowing that Billy was about to end her affair with Gus at the time of his death. Leslie imagines a loss for Billy that exceeds Billy’s actual feelings. Leslie fixes an architect friend, Sam, up with Billy, who sleeps with Rafe, the lead actor in her play. If you’ve gotten all that straight, now be prepared to shift narrators and see events from the perspective of different characters. Miller does a fine job of presenting the complexity of relationships and the interplay of giving and receiving love and dealing with loss. The accidents and misunderstandings of life can become defining moments in relationships, and Miller’s fine writing helps uncover this for any reader who enjoys reflective literary fiction.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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