Saturday, September 19, 2020
I've been reading and reviewing Sue Miller's novels ever since her debut, The Good Mother, became an instant bestseller in 1986. And for all those many years, I've been frustrated by Miller because her novels are so hard to do justice to in a review, especially on radio.
As you know, radio is about storytelling and Miller's stories, in summary, often tend to sound contrived, cheesy even. For instance, her latest novel, Monogamy, is about a couple living in Cambridge, Mass., who've been happily married nearly 30 years; the husband suddenly dies and the wife discovers he had been having an affair. Her known world is, thus, doubly shattered.
Melodramatic, right? Yet, in Miller hands, this piece of artifice becomes transformed into felt life. She's one of our most emotionally profound and nuanced writers.
Annie, the "wife," in Monogamy, is the first character we meet and, the one we readers are left with after her husband, Graham, dies in his sleep of a heart attack. In her 60s — a photographer who has had some successful exhibitions, but by her own admission, is no Diane Arbus — Annie is one of those reserved, easy-to-underestimate people with a strong core.
Read more here.