The Lake Shore Limited

The Lake Shore Limited

Book - 2010
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That's what the play was about, she was thinking abruptly. The wish to imagine what life could be, how it could change, if you were unencumbered. Did everyone who was married do this from time to time, imagine an unencumbered life? Three years after the death of her younger brother Gus, Leslie still carries around with her the thought of what might have been- if Gus hadn't got on that plane on September 11th, if her husband understood the nature of her grief more, if she had made different choices in her life. As she sits down to watch a play written by Gus's former girlfriend Billy, she can't help but wonder if Billy too has been unable to let go of his memory. At the time Billy had seemed so stunned, so utterly at a loss for what to do. But now, watching the stage before her, Leslie soon realizes how disquietingly autobiographical The Lake Shore Limited is - and how little she really knows Billy. Meanwhile, the lead actor, Rafe, is struggling to cope with seeing his once strong, fiery wife succumb to the devastating effects of motor neuron disease. And then there is Sam, Leslie's divorced friend, who finds in the play inescapable echoes of his troubled life. Four characters, brought together by The Lake Shore Limited, all carry with them the weight of guilt, regret and longing that accumulates as the years go by.
The Lake Shore Limited is a deeply felt, deeply human exploration of the intricate workings of relationships- the things we try to hold onto, and the things we desperately want to let go of.
Publisher: London : Bloomsbury, 2010.
ISBN: 9781408807330
Branch Call Number: FIC MILL
Characteristics: 269 p. ; 24 cm.


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May 17, 2018

A good novel - don't need a book report

coroboreefarm Oct 27, 2015

In spite of very lukewarm reviews by other readers, I enjoyed this book. Its appeal to me lay in the way that Susan Miller described the main protagonists using very penetrating and complex characterizations.

The play, about a terrorist act, that is staged at the beginning of the novel, is a well constructed device for the examination of art paralleling life. It connects the characters and separates them as they see themselves reflected in art.

Told from multiple perspectives, the narrative took me deep into an examination of each individual's life, but still successfully maintained a connection between the other characters –and to the play. To me, this was a mesmerizing conceit, keeping me immersed in each chapter while eagerly anticipating the next one.
Miller is a master at mixing descriptive passages, plot movement, and character insight in order to produce a gripping and suspenseful read.

Aug 26, 2011

Have you ever had someone tell you the plot of a movie? Usually kids do this and it's rather tedious, isn't it? I was really worried as I read through the first section of this book because much of it involves a character's recounting an entire play. It's only as you enter into the viewpoints of the three other characters in this novel that it becomes clear why we need to know about the play.

So that's my caveat: you will be treated to Sue Miller's extraordinary ability to tell a story from differing viewpoints, revealing truths while exposing individual blind-spots. But you'll have to sit through that play first. It will be worth it.

May 18, 2011

I really enjoyed this book. Sue Miller has a way of getting me involved in the lives of the characters. Regardless of whether or not I like them - they interest me.

Jan 13, 2011

book club read - didn't like it much!

Jan 12, 2011

Wow. I was really surprised by the other comments. I love Sue Miller and this was my favorite of all her books so far. I thought a lot happened. A character dies and the person left behind has to cope with the idea that she didn't love him as much as she could have/should have. Powerful and resonant, this book really spoke to me.

Jun 23, 2010

In Sue Miller's The Lake Shore Limited, not a lot happens. Instead we get character's that are so convincingly difficult that it becomes tough going for the reader to find anything redemptive about them. Basically a group of spoiled adults surrounding a play hurt each other. The roundabout and jerky narration, absent plot and humor, wisdom, doesn't help matters. Though Miller's use of language is at times striking, I still struggled to finish this one.

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