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While I Was Goneby Sue Miller
Synopses & Reviews
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.
“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.”
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.”
“Marvelous . . . poignant . . . powerful.”
–Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer
About the Author
Sue Miller is the bestselling author of The God Mother, Inventing the Abbotts, Family Pitctures, For Love, and The Distinguished Guest. She lives in Boston.
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