From Publishers Weekly
In this collection of affecting and thought-provoking essays, Miller, an English professor at Western Washington University, addresses how so many people try to move determinedly forward in their lives, but often find themselves "doubling back" and "playing out the same plots again and again." Likewise, the forward motion of each of these essays tends to loop back and revisit themes of love, loss, loneliness and healing. Reflections on Miller's romantic relationships, Zen meditation practice, Jewish heritage, infertility, surrogate motherhood and work as a masseuse are among the many points of access through which she explores physicality. Details such as the red and gold of autumn leaves link vastly different vignettes on the pain of a miscarriage, a walk in the New England countryside and a lack of communication between a mother and daughter. Miller's expressions of sadness and loneliness are never laments, though; they're juxtaposed with themes of rebirth, renewal and healing love. About a breast cancer patient, she writes, "I cupped my palms on her sternum, and felt the absence there, an ache traveling up my arm and into my own breast. We both started to cry then: not in a debilitating way, but gently, almost happily, as if we spoke a language of the female, body-to-body, unhampered by the tired obstacle of speech." Miller's observation that "endings never stay put, but keep changing into beginnings; eventually we're left reeling in a perpetual present" serves not as a warning, but an invitation to embrace the cycles of life with calm receptivity.
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From Library Journal
In these autobiographical essays, Miller reminds readers of the mind-body connection, observing in her introduction that "the body knows a language the mind never wholly masters." Before becoming an assistant professor of English at Western Washington University and editor in chief of the Bellingham Review, the author was trained in therapeutic massage. Her work in the creative nonfiction genre allows her to combine body memory with intellectual memory, creating personal essays that reflect one woman's spiritual and cultural experience. Born into a Jewish household, Miller was given the choice of staying in Hebrew school and having a bat mitzvah or dropping out to pursue her own interests, which started her on a lifelong quest to find answers for herself. The resulting essays are memorable for their sensuality and unflinching honesty. Miller's works have appeared in The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Women and Men of All Colors and Storming Heaven's Gate: An Anthology of Spiritual Writings by Women. Recommended for all libraries, public and academic, with large collections of women's literature and self-help books. Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.