From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Miller (The Good Mother
; While I Was Gone
; etc.) examines love and betrayal in idyllic wine country in another minutely observed, finely paced exploration of domestic relationships. Idealistic California converts Eva and Mark had a solid marriage until Mark's affair; "bumps in matrimony" is what one of Eva's friends, Gracie, calls such difficulties, and as Miller presents them it's not a question of whether they'll appear but how to deal with them when they do. Some years later, Mark and Eva's two adolescent daughters, Emily and Daisy, are living with Eva and her second husband, John, and their young son, Theo. After John's death in a freak accident, Mark rescues the children from their mother's anguish and, in the process, realizes he is still in love with her. John's death becomes the locus of an elegant and careful investigation of loss—loss of love, loss of innocence—and the conflicts between men and women, parents and children, friends and lovers. As Eva grieves and Mark acknowledges his feelings for her, their quiet younger daughter, 15-year-old Daisy (who "had loved [John] the best!"), enters into an affair with an older man. The backdrop of California vineyards is ideal for the growth and life-cycle themes that Miller so carefully cultivates. As Daisy tries her first glass of wine, has her first taste of sex and experiments with her sense of power and voice, she develops into the heroine of the tale—one of the next generation of women learning to navigate the complex familiar waters of love and domesticity.
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Who needs family therapy when one has Sue Miller? Lost in the Forest
expertly unfolds to a display of realistic characters and troubled situations, including the sexual initiation (or violation?) of a teenage girl. Yet Daisys affair represents only one of many challenges the family faces after Johns deathand there are no easy answers. In understated, powerful prose, Miller moves back and forth in time, a device critics saw as either artful or interruptive. There were divergent views on the explicit sex as well. In this meditation on love, loss, grief, and self-discovery, Miller successfully and painfully examines what divides, and then unites and re-divides, our familial core.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.