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Extended Audio Sample The Lake Shore Limited, by Sue Miller Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,098 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sue Miller Narrator: Sue Miller Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2010 ISBN: 9780307715128
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Four unforgettable characters beckon you into this spellbinding new novel from Sue Miller, the author of 2008’s heralded best seller The Senator’s Wife. First among them is Wilhelmina—Billy—Gertz, small as a child, fiercely independent, powerfully committed to her work as a playwright. The story itself centers on The Lake Shore Limited—a play Billy has written about an imagined terrorist bombing of that train as it pulls into Union Station in Chicago, and about a man waiting to hear the fate of his estranged wife, who is traveling on it. Billy had waited in just such a way on 9/11 to hear whether her lover, Gus, was on one of the planes used in the attack.

The novel moves from the snow-filled woods of Vermont to the rainy brick sidewalks of Boston as the lives of the other characters intersect and interweave with Billy’s: Leslie, Gus’s sister, still driven by grief years after her brother’s death; Rafe, the actor who rises to greatness in a performance inspired by a night of incandescent lovemaking; and Sam, a man irresistibly drawn to Billy after he sees the play that so clearly displays the terrible conflicts and ambivalence of her situation.

How Billy has come to create the play out of these emotions, how it is then created anew on the stage, how the performance itself touches and changes the other characters’ lives—these form the thread that binds them all together and drives the novel compulsively forward.

A powerful love story; a mesmerizing tale of entanglements, connections, and inconsolable losses; a marvelous reflection on the meaning of grace and the uses of sorrow, in life and in art: The Lake Shore Limited is Sue Miller at her dazzling best.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Expertly written, this novel plumbs the dark depths of grief and guilt but emerges into the light of self-forgiveness and freedom.”

    Library Journal

  • Ms. Miller not only conveys the subjectivity of all experience but also succeeds in creating a haunting chamber-music piece with many different solos. . . . Its power grows from Ms. Miller’s intimate understanding of her characters . . . and from her Chekhovian understanding of missed connections, lost opportunities, and closely held memories that mutate slowly over time. . . . Ms. Miller gives us a knowing meditation upon the acts of alchemy and theft that constitute an artist’s work: a meditation that sheds light on her own craft, so meticulously showcased in this novel. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
  • Miller’s exquisite new novel, The Lake Shore Limited, is so sophisticated and thoughtful that it should either help redeem the term ‘women’s literature’ or free her from it once and for all. . . . Gorgeously drawn and told with stark honesty. . . . Intellectual and emotional . . . profound and unsettling. . . . [A] miracle. Ron Charles, The Washington Post
  • Quintessential Miller, touching on the themes that have animated her fiction for the past quarter-century: the potency of sex; the failure of men and women to understand each other; the hunger for a different life. Ligaya Mishan, The New York Times Book Review
  • Miller has written gripping novels that shrewdly tap the domestic zeitgeist. Lake Shore, set between snowy Vermont and brick-lined Boston, continues the trend, exploring the fragility of love—and life—in the post-9/11 era. . . . [A] play-within-the-novel adds a layer of complexity to Miller’s latest tale, another graceful, poignant romance that resonates with the times. Joanna Powell, People
  • With the surety of a master, Miller reveals the intersection of love and fate. Good Housekeeping
  • An ensemble novel about love, loss, and the discontents of middle age. Elle (Fiction pick of the month, The Elle’s Lettres Readers Prize)
  • An ambitious exploration of the interaction between choice and random chance in human relationships. . . . Miller raises tantalizing questions about the ethics of love. Kirkus Reviews
     
  • Miller’s take on post-9/11 America is fascinating and perfectly balanced with her writerly meditations on the destructiveness of trauma and loss, and the creation and experience of art. Publishers Weekly
  • Expertly written, this novel plumbs the dark depths of grief and guilt but emerges into the light of self-forgiveness and freedom. Recommended. Jyna Scheeren, Library Journal
  • As the narrative among four different perspectives, Miller ever so slowly builds to a deeply affecting series of emotional revelations. Among the many heady themes Miller tackles—the joys and burdens of making art, the wish for a different, unencumbered life—is the relationships between men and women that elicit her most piercing insights and elegant turns of phrase. . . . An eloquent, layered meditation on the complexities of the human heart. Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
  • The Lake Shore Limited is perhaps best appreciated as an extended character study…Worth reading for the ruthlessness of its revelations.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • The Lake Shore Limited is so sophisticated and thoughtful that it should either help redeem the term ‘women’s literature’ or free her from it once and for all.”

    Washington Post

  • “Miller’s take on post-9/11 America is fascinating and perfectly balanced with her writerly meditations on the destructiveness of trauma and loss and the creation and experience of art.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • Selected for the April 2010 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2010 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellyn | 2/20/2014

    " I've read Sue Miller before and enjoyed her books but not this one. I had trouble keeping track of the story when it switched from character to character. The people in the story were just not likeable. Disappointing! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marta | 2/18/2014

    " Sorry Sue. Used to love your books but I don't plan to even finish this one. I gave it 75 Pages and I have way too many other books calling my name. Maybe it's because I just if finished ME BEFORE YOU where the characters were so well described that I felt I was in their skin. Even the ones I didn't like. Someday when I finish my pile, maybe I'll pick this up again and figure out what people are raving about. Too many books, too little time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 2/4/2014

    " I loved this book. I have read everything Sue Miller has written and I like her style -- I thought this one was especially good. She does a great job in most of her novels as far as character analysis and this one stands out in that department. I really liked the ending and how she ties it in with the ending of the play in the novel, i.e.The Lake Shore Limited "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trudi | 2/2/2014

    " Sue Miller rarely disappoints me. I liked this one. Well-developed characters and an intriguing plot involving a playwright whose boyfriend died in the Twin Towers on 9/11. Now she's written a play that, in some ways, reflects her situation when that happened. And she meets a man who had a wife who died of a lingering illness. Also, the sister of the deceased boyfriend plays a role. Examines the emotions and life of those close to people dying in tragic circumstances. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashruska | 2/1/2014

    " It was ironic that I happened to read this the week preceding the 10th anniversary of 9/11; beyond that, all I can say is meh...... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phyllis | 1/15/2014

    " An interesting character study showing the mixed reactions to tragedy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donnaestern | 1/12/2014

    " It was a little hard to get into, but by the end I really liked it and it made me think alot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Theresa | 1/8/2014

    " Not one of her best, but still pretty good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ksnitselaar | 12/14/2013

    " Sad, but terrific. Perfect resolved ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela Stohrer | 11/21/2013

    " Such a perceptive, honest book about how we make decisions, forge relationships and often lie to ourselves; how we ignore uncomfortable truths in favor of easy desires. Flawed characters, making difficult choices, forging ahead, just as we all are and all do. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Resa | 11/4/2013

    " Way too boring. I could not get into it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leorah | 11/3/2013

    " A well-written entertaining read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Debbie | 11/1/2013

    " I really wanted to like this book, but I found the first few chapters to be convoluted. The description of the play, which is a focal point of the novel, was not interesting to me, and I gave up on this book after 50 pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 6/23/2013

    " I listened to the book so was a little distracted at times and may want to listen again. But mostly I liked it -interesting characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marci | 5/1/2013

    " she writes relationships well "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan Kalogris | 2/11/2013

    " I liked it. It was really slow in the beginning and dragged at points, but I thought it was interesting and unique. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beverlee | 2/2/2013

    " I really wanted to give this book four stars and maybe I will after it settles. The story is interesting, the characters are complex and I like the way it was told....but still pondering. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ivy | 11/30/2012

    " Interesting story told from four different points of view with the theme of having ambivalent feelings towards the one you love or the one who loves you. The emotions of the characters often don't seem well developed enough to really feel their angst, though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Imasongbyrd | 4/29/2012

    " didn't like it - returned it "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 2/6/2012

    " I just loved this story and the way it was written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellenh | 1/28/2012

    " This was acomplicated, rich story of a playrights play about her emotions surrounding her lovers death ion 9/11. The other main characters are related through the play & her lovers family. I found myself disturbed by the story, but was drawn back to it. A very good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna Irwin | 12/3/2011

    " Another great novel from one of my favourite authors, Sue Miller. The detail in her characters, the way she describes their feelings, family interaction - really liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 9/11/2011

    " okay. Billy (girl) writes a play called this. A man doesn't know if his wire survived a terrorist train bombing. Billy's real boyfriend in story died in 9/11. Kind of awkward story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 5/27/2011

    " Solid readable novel with themes of loss and guilt over an untimely death on one of the 911 planes. I tired a bit of the play-within-the-play which seemed excessively detailed and repeated. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jlawton | 5/24/2011

    " Exploring the promise of possibilities...hope, change, fresh starts..lots to think about and ponder. Great book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 5/16/2011

    " I really enjoyed her previous book. The Seanator's Wife, but found the character development in this book to be lacking. I found myself being bored reading this book, I was disappointed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 5/10/2011

    " I really liked the story of this book. Interesting views on life "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 4/28/2011

    " Another great novel from one of my favourite authors, Sue Miller. The detail in her characters, the way she describes their feelings, family interaction - really liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paula | 3/30/2011

    " Interesting character development. The flow of the book goes from present to past then scenes from a play, a bit random. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beverly | 3/27/2011

    " I listened to this and liked it. A lot going on, a little heavy at times. Don't remember how I knew about this book and not sure I want to read others by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 margaret | 3/14/2011

    " listened to it driving to chicago for Mrs. Nelson's funerall "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 3/12/2011

    " I liked it. It was really slow in the beginning and dragged at points, but I thought it was interesting and unique. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 3/10/2011

    " Hmmm it's kind of a sad story. Each character is interesting in their own way but it's quite a big web to go through to get to the center. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 3/8/2011

    " The playwright, an actor, and members of the audience react to the presentation of a play dealing with the loss of a loved one. Well written, enjoyable, not earthshattering. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marielle | 2/22/2011

    " Well... whenever I see Sue Miller, I pick it up - ever since, "The Good Mother". This book was okay... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 2/1/2011

    " Love story, people relationships and connections. Each chapter told from a character's perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kat | 1/29/2011

    " Midly interesting, soothing reader, nice book to listen to.
    P.S.
    I now see that Beth wrote a very deep one sentence review of this book and feel inadequate. "

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