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Summary and book reviews of Lost In The Forest by Sue Miller

Lost In The Forest

by Sue Miller

Lost In The Forest
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2006, 272 pages

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Book Summary

A stunning, kaleidoscopic evocation of a family in crisis, written with delicacy and masterful care - a rich and gorgeously layered tale of a family breaking apart and coming back together again.

For nearly two decades, since the publication of her iconic first novel, The Good Mother, Sue Miller has distinguished herself as one of our most elegant and widely celebrated chroniclers of family life, with a singular gift for laying bare the interior lives of her characters. In each of her novels, Miller has written with exquisite precision about the experience of grace in daily life–the sudden, epiphanic recognition of the extraordinary amid the ordinary–as well as the sharp and unexpected motions of the human heart away from it, toward an unruly netherworld of upheaval and desire. But never before have Miller’s powers been keener or more transfixing than they are in Lost in the Forest, a novel set in the vineyards of Northern California that tells the story of a young girl who, in the wake of a tragic accident, seeks solace in a damaging love affair with a much older man.

Eva, a divorced and happily remarried mother of three, runs a small bookstore in a town north of San Francisco. When her second husband, John, is killed in a car accident, her family’s fragile peace is once again overtaken by loss. Emily, the eldest, must grapple with newfound independence and responsibility. Theo, the youngest, can only begin to fathom his father’s death. But for Daisy, the middle child, John’s absence opens up a world of bewilderment, exposing her at the onset of adolescence to the chaos and instability that hover just beyond the safety of parental love. In her sorrow, Daisy embarks on a harrowing sexual odyssey, a journey that will cast her even farther out onto the harsh promontory of adulthood and lost hope.

With astonishing sensuality and immediacy, Lost in the Forest moves through the most intimate realms of domestic life, from grief and sex to adolescence and marriage. It is a stunning, kaleidoscopic evocation of a family in crisis, written with delicacy and masterful care. For her lifelong fans and those just discovering Sue Miller for the first time, here is a rich and gorgeously layered tale of a family breaking apart and coming back together again: Sue Miller at her inimitable best.

Emily telephoned, his older daughter. "Can you come get us?" she said. "It's an emergency."

As usual, she didn't greet him, she didn't say hello at the start of the call. And also as usual, this bothered him, he felt a familiar pull of irritation at her voice, her tone. But even as he was listening to her, he was focused on steering the truck around the sharp curves in the narrow road, around several small heaps of rock that had slid down the steep hillside: he was feeling the pleasure he always took in the way the slanted afternoon light played on the yellowed grass and reddened leaves left in the vineyards, in the way the air smelled. He kept his voice neutral as he responded. "When? Now?"

In the background, behind her, Mark could hear someone give a sudden whoop. Festivities, he thought. As ever. Eva's face rose in his mind--his ex-wife. At the least excuse, there was a gathering at her house: to celebrate a ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
The introduction, discussion questions, and suggested reading list that follow are designed to enhance your group’s reading of Sue Miller’s Lost in the Forest. We hope they will provide useful ways of thinking and talking about a new book from an author who has distinguished herself as one of our most widely celebrated writers about the truest, deepest undercurrents in family life.


ABOUT THIS BOOK
Sue Miller’s powers have never been keener or more transfixing than they are in Lost in the Forest, a novel set in the vineyards of Northern California that tells the story of a young girl who, in the wake of a tragic accident, seeks solace in a damaging love affair with a much older man.

Eva, a divorced and happily remarried...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

I know this sounds like pretty standard stuff but as I've said before (and will likely say again!) it's not what you tell, it's the way you tell it. In Miller's hands other people's lives are surprisingly interesting!   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (296 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

...examines love and betrayal in idyllic wine country in another minutely observed, finely paced exploration of domestic relationships.

Booklist - Joanne Wilkinson

Starred Review. In her riveting new novel, Miller once again demonstrates her singular gift for capturing the rhythms of daily family life... It's easy to underestimate Miller's artistry because her writing is never showy.

Kirkus Reviews

Miller at her best: engrossing characters and a plot that turns unexpected corners.

Reader Reviews

Dan Silver

Sue Miller--Subtle Wonderful Read
I don't know why, but for some reason Sue Miller's writing soars with more apparent ease than any author I know. The story is engaging, the conflicts make your heart stop at times, and there is nothing you are reading that seems to be taking you ...   Read More

Dianne

A question...not a review
I have partially read your new book, "Lost in the Forest", and like your others, it's a good read. But, I am discouraged on reading further because of the bold print of certain words/phrases on nearly every page. Why is that? My assumption is that ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Sue Miller was born in Chicago in 1943, the second of four children. She describes herself as 'a reader, a painter, an inventor of solitary projects, the quiet child in a fairly boisterous family'. When she was 16 she went to Radcliffe College, Harvard. She says that she was 'simply too young to have done this... overwhelmed, I stumbled unhappily around Harvard for four years'. She graduated at the age of 20 and was married 2 months later. She worked at a variety of jobs while supporting her husband through ...

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