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2 Burnside Literature- A to Z

While I Was Gone

by

While I Was Gone Cover

ISBN13: 9780345443281
ISBN10: 0345443284
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the summer of 1968, Jo Becker ran out on the marriage and the life her parents wanted for her, and escaped — for one beautiful, idyllic year — into a life that was bohemian and romantic, living under an assumed name in a rambling group house in Cambridge. It was a time of limitless possibility, but it ended in a single instant when Jo returned home one night to find her best friend lying dead in a pool of blood on the living room floor.

Now Jo has everything she's ever wanted: a veterinary practice she loves, a devoted husband, three grown daughters, a beautiful Massachusetts farmhouse. And if occasionally she feels a stranger to herself and wonders what happened to the freedom she once felt, or how she came to be the wife, mother, and doctor her neighbors know and trust — if at times she feels as if her whole life is vanishing behind her as she's living it — she need only look at her daughters or her husband, Daniel, to recall the satisfactions of family and community and marriage. But when an old housemate settles in her small town, the fabric of Jo's life begins to unravel: seduced again by the enticing possibility of another self and another life, she begins a dangerous flirtation that returns her to the darkest moment of her past and imperils all she loves.

Review:

"Riveting....The narrative pacing is masterly, building tension even in the most psychologically subtle passages....While I Was Gone celebrate[s] what is impulsive in human nature." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

Review:

"Miller weaves her themes of secrecy, betrayal and forgiveness into a narrative that shines." Time

Review:

"Fascinating...a new novel of great integrity and power." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Review:

"Marvelous...poignant...powerful." Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer

Review:

"A beautiful and frightening book...many readers will find it diffifcult to forget....I can think of few contemporary novelists — John Updike and Frederick Buechner are two others — who write so well about the trials of faith." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[G]ripping, close-to-the-bone fiction....It is the most acomplished novel in a career that began promisingly with The Good Mother and gained strength....While I Was Gone urges us to consider, very carefully, what's best told and what's best kept private." Dan Cryer, Newsday

Review:

"[I]n a richly textured but emotionally cool novel, Miller limns a fall from grace and the hard climb back to redemption as a woman tempted to take a timeout from her marriage almost destroys all the good things in her life." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

Ten years after memorably exploring the boundaries between motherhood and sexuality in her bestselling novel The Good Mother, Sue Miller returns with a new novel of love, betrayal, and forgiveness that asks what it means to be a good wife. In the summer of 1968, Jo Becker's youthful innocence was shattered when she found her best friend brutally murdered in the communal house they shared in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Now, 30 years later, Jo has everything she ever wanted: a successful veterinary practice, a devoted husband, and three grown daughters. But when Eli Mayhew — a former housemate from her bohemian days — settles in her small town, Jo is gradually drawn into a flirtation that returns her to the darkest moment of her past and imperils all she loves.

Synopsis:

“Riveting . . . While I Was Gone [celebrates] what is impulsive in human nature.”

-The New York Times

“Miller weaves her themes of secrecy, betrayal, and forgiveness into a narrative that shines.”

-Time

Jo Becker has every reason to be content. She has three dynamic daughters, a loving marriage, and a rewarding career. But she feels a sense of unease. Then an old housemate reappears, sending Jo back to a distant past when she lived in a communal house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Drawn deeper into her memories of that fateful summer in 1968, Jo begins to obsess about the person she once was. As she is pulled farther from her present life, her husband, and her world, Jo struggles against becoming enveloped by her past and its dark secret.

“[While I Was Gone] swoops gracefully between the past and the present, between a womans complex feelings about her husband and her equally complex fantasies-and fears-about another man. . . . [Miller writes] well about the trials of faith.”

-The New York Times Book Review

“Quietly gripping . . . Jo shines steadily as the flawed and thoroughly modern heroine. As in her 1986 novel, The Good Mother, Miller shows how impulses can fracture the family.”

-USA Today

“Marvelous . . . poignant . . . powerful.”

-Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer

About the Author

Sue Miller is the bestselling author of The Good Mother, Inventing the Abbotts, Family Pitctures, For Love, and The Distinguished Guest. She lives in Boston.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Baochi, September 8, 2012 (view all comments by Baochi)
Jo Becker is a middle-aged woman living a content life: she's happily married, she's raised three grown daughters, she lives in a lovely home in rural Massachusetts, and she enjoys her job as a veterinarian. Then, a person from Jo's past moves into town and brings back memories of a significant time in her life.

Jo's blast from the past is Eli, now a prominent scientist. During their early 20s in the late 1960s, the two lived in the same house along with several other people. All the housemates were fun-loving friends in the exploratory stages of their lives. But a horrible murder in the house ended the housemates' bond, and they drifted apart -- until Jo and Eli coincidentally meet again.

Sue Miller's While I Was Gone is a fast and intriguing read. It's the kind of book you look forward to getting into bed to read -- if you're a nighttime reader like I am. The writing is good, even inspiring at times. The murder mystery adds a suspenseful tension.

This novel is not a mystery, however. The story is most essentially an examination of betrayal and what it reveals about a person and his/her relationships. It may be an ambitious theme, yet the author conveys it well through the singular focus on heroine Jo Becker and the complexities that lie beneath her ordinary, near-perfect life. These complexities come to light through Jo's re-acquaintance with Eli, who brings back intense memories from a significant time. Jo's reaction to Eli and her resulting choices jeopardize her relationships with her family members. Everyone feels betrayed and betrayal -- at its heart -- is about being surprised when we realize we don't know someone, including ourselves.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345443281
Author:
Miller, Sue
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Author:
Various
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Man-woman relationships
Subject:
Married women
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Women veterinarians
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
New Age ministers
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
May 2000
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8 x 5.13 x 0.63 in 0.5 lb

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

While I Was Gone Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345443281 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Riveting....The narrative pacing is masterly, building tension even in the most psychologically subtle passages....While I Was Gone celebrate[s] what is impulsive in human nature."
"Review" by , "Miller weaves her themes of secrecy, betrayal and forgiveness into a narrative that shines."
"Review" by , "Fascinating...a new novel of great integrity and power."
"Review" by , "Marvelous...poignant...powerful."
"Review" by , "A beautiful and frightening book...many readers will find it diffifcult to forget....I can think of few contemporary novelists — John Updike and Frederick Buechner are two others — who write so well about the trials of faith."
"Review" by , "[G]ripping, close-to-the-bone fiction....It is the most acomplished novel in a career that began promisingly with The Good Mother and gained strength....While I Was Gone urges us to consider, very carefully, what's best told and what's best kept private."
"Review" by , "[I]n a richly textured but emotionally cool novel, Miller limns a fall from grace and the hard climb back to redemption as a woman tempted to take a timeout from her marriage almost destroys all the good things in her life."
"Synopsis" by , Ten years after memorably exploring the boundaries between motherhood and sexuality in her bestselling novel The Good Mother, Sue Miller returns with a new novel of love, betrayal, and forgiveness that asks what it means to be a good wife. In the summer of 1968, Jo Becker's youthful innocence was shattered when she found her best friend brutally murdered in the communal house they shared in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Now, 30 years later, Jo has everything she ever wanted: a successful veterinary practice, a devoted husband, and three grown daughters. But when Eli Mayhew — a former housemate from her bohemian days — settles in her small town, Jo is gradually drawn into a flirtation that returns her to the darkest moment of her past and imperils all she loves.
"Synopsis" by , “Riveting . . . While I Was Gone [celebrates] what is impulsive in human nature.”

-The New York Times

“Miller weaves her themes of secrecy, betrayal, and forgiveness into a narrative that shines.”

-Time

Jo Becker has every reason to be content. She has three dynamic daughters, a loving marriage, and a rewarding career. But she feels a sense of unease. Then an old housemate reappears, sending Jo back to a distant past when she lived in a communal house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Drawn deeper into her memories of that fateful summer in 1968, Jo begins to obsess about the person she once was. As she is pulled farther from her present life, her husband, and her world, Jo struggles against becoming enveloped by her past and its dark secret.

“[While I Was Gone] swoops gracefully between the past and the present, between a womans complex feelings about her husband and her equally complex fantasies-and fears-about another man. . . . [Miller writes] well about the trials of faith.”

-The New York Times Book Review

“Quietly gripping . . . Jo shines steadily as the flawed and thoroughly modern heroine. As in her 1986 novel, The Good Mother, Miller shows how impulses can fracture the family.”

-USA Today

“Marvelous . . . poignant . . . powerful.”

-Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer

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