Sue Miller is the best-selling author of The World Below, While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest, For Love, Family Pictures, Inventing the Abbotts, and The Good Mother. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Miller's first nonfiction book (after While I Was Gone; The World Below; etc.), about caring for her Alzheimer's-afflicted father, is a rare example of an illness memoir with widespread appeal. Prospective readers need not have any interest in Alzheimer's; they need only have parents of their own to appreciate this testimony's dignity and grace. Miller's father, James Nichols, started showing signs of dementia in 1986, when he was picked up by the police after ringing a stranger's doorbell in the middle of the night, announcing he was lost. Miller's careful recounting of James's slow demise and progression through the various stages of an assisted living community are punctuated by pleasant memories and even humor, e.g., when James, a retired religious scholar, assesses his surroundings and comments, "No one ever seems to graduate from here." As she recalls childhood stories and family memories, Miller simultaneously offers a memoir of her own development as a writer. "[T]his is the hardest lesson... for a caregiver: you can never do enough to make a difference in the course of the disease," Miller writes. "We always find ourselves deficient in devotion.... Did you visit once a week? you might have visited twice. Oh, you visited daily? but perhaps he would have done better if you'd kept him at home. In the end all those judgments, those self-judgments, are pointless. This disease is inexorable, cruel. It scoffs at everything." 11 photos. BOMC alternate. (Mar. 19) Forecast: Miller's popularity among women readers of literary works-many whom are probably dealing with aging parents themselves-could shoot this one onto bestseller lists, and Knopf shouldn't have trouble selling out its 75,000 first printing. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
As her father succumbs to Alzheimer's, Miller examines both his life and her own. The popular novelist will launch her first book-length piece of nonfiction with a seven-city tour. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"Deft, sincere and eloquent. . . With the care, restraint, and
consummate skill that define her well-crafted and bestselling
fiction, Sue Miller has now written a beautiful, compelling memoir
about her father and his downward spiral into the demonic grasp of
--San Francisco Chronicle "Stunning. . . A remarkable yet self-effacing testament to the vagaries of memory . . . [Miller] turns a man's simple life and tragic death into a lively and unforgettable narrative."
--Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Deeply affecting . . . Like any memoir, this one is a way of bringing its subject back to life. . . . [This] beautifully written little book takes on the narrative power of first-rate fiction."
--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Beautifully written . . . Style and story are so seamlessly fused, and so perfectly balanced, that true clarity emerges."
--The Boston Globe