Feature

Novel of the week: The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller

The characters in The Lake Shore Limited all long for someone to see them without a filter, but they are forever renewing their disguises.

(Knopf, $25.95)

Sue Miller’s new novel, about four uneasy adults, is “so sophisticated and thoughtful” that critics should finally stop ghettoizing her as a writer of “women’s fiction,” said Ron Charles in The Washington Post. A playwright who lost a boyfriend in the 9/11 attacks has written a drama about a terrorist attack on a train in Chicago, and friends who see it deduce that she is exorcising pent-up emotions through her art. But “the miracle” of Miller’s book is that the play’s performance allows us to also burrow into the lives of three other linked characters, whose stories collectively reveal “what ­actors we all are”: We pretend to feel what we think we’re supposed to feel, and that instinct can govern our fates. Though The Lake Shore Limited sometimes drags, said Ligaya Mishan in The New York Times, it’s “worth reading for the ruthlessness of its revelations” about midlife traps. These characters all long for someone to see them without a filter, but are forever renewing their disguises.

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