• U.S.

Books: While I Was Gone By Sue Miller

1 minute read
Jill Smolowe

Her three daughters grown and newly flown, her veterinary practice in full bloom and her marriage to a minister comfortably loving, Joey Becker is just beginning to feel vaguely dissatisfied with her predictable life when Eli Mayhew, a housemate from her hippie past, moves to town. His presence both reawakens questions about an old, unsolved murder and kindles in Joey what she has been hungering for: a youthful “sense of a surprise, that heady sense of not knowing” what life will bring. While the lengthy, earnest flashback to the ’60s never quite rises above the expected, Joey’s return to the ’90s fares better. Here, Miller weaves her themes of secrecy, betrayal and forgiveness into a narrative that shines.

–By Jill Smolowe

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