Story of My Father by Sue Miller

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Synopsis

In the fall of 1988, Sue Miller found herself caring for her father as he slipped into the grasp of Alzheimer's disease. She was, she claims, perhaps the least constitutionally suited of all her siblings to be in the role in which she suddenly found herself, and in The Story of My Father she grapples with the haunting memories of those final months and the larger narrative of her father's life. With compassion, self-scrutiny, and an urgency born of her own yearning to rescue her father's memory from the disorder and oblivion that marked his dying and death, Sue Miller takes us on an intensely personal journey that becomes, by virtue of her enormous gifts of observation, perception, and literary precision, a universal story of fathers and daughters.

James Nichols was a fourth-generation minister, a retired professor from Princeton Theological Seminary. Sue Miller brings her father brilliantly to life in these pages-his religious faith, his endless patience with his children, his gaiety and willingness to delight in the ridiculous, his singular gifts as a listener, and the rituals of church life that stayed with him through his final days. She recalls the bitter irony of watching him, a church historian, wrestle with a disease that inexorably lays waste to notions of time, history, and meaning. She recounts her struggle with doctors, her deep ambivalence about many of her own choices, and the difficulty of finding, continually, the humane and moral response to a disease whose special cruelty it is to dissolve particularities and to diminish, in so many ways, the humanity of those it strikes. She reflects, unforgettably, on the variable nature of memory, the paradox of trying to weave a truthful narrative from the threads of a dissolving life. And she offers stunning insight into her own life as both a daughter and a writer, two roles that swell together here in a poignant meditation on the consolations of storytelling.

With the care, restraint, and consummate skill that define her beloved and best-selling fiction, Sue Miller now gives us a rigorous, compassionate inventory of two lives, in a memoir destined to offer comfort to all sons and daughters struggling-as we all eventually must-to make peace with their fathers and with themselves.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Sue Miller

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Sue Miller is the best-selling author of the novels Lost in the Forest, The World Below, While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest, For Love, Family Pictures, and The Good Mother; the story collection Inventing the Abbotts; and the memoir The Story of My Father. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Random House. 208 pages
Genres: Professional & Technical, Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Story of My Father

Kirkus Reviews

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In a perfectly pitched memoir, novelist Miller (The World Below, 2001, etc.) movingly depicts the bittersweet emotions provoked by the toll Alzheimer’s exacted on her father.

Mar 19 2003 | Read Full Review of Story of My Father

Kirkus Reviews

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In a perfectly pitched memoir, novelist Miller (The World Below, 2001, etc.) movingly depicts the bittersweet emotions provoked by the toll Alzheimer's exacted on her father.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Story of My Father

The Guardian

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The Story of My Father by Sue Miller Bloomsbury £12.99, pp198 How to explain the current appeal of memoir?

Apr 13 2003 | Read Full Review of Story of My Father

Publishers Weekly

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Miller's careful recounting of James's slow demise and progression through the various stages of an assisted living community are punctuated by pleasant memories and even humor, e.g., when James, a retired religious scholar, assesses his surroundings and comments, "No one ever seems to graduate ...

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Entertainment Weekly

And, by definition, it demands the abandonment of the very gift – invention – that has made Miller such a compelling writer.

Mar 21 2003 | Read Full Review of Story of My Father

The Sunday Times

Unable to make the two Sues coalesce in his mind, she ended up writing, at his dictation, a letter to the other one that poignantly expressed a desire to be in contact with the Sue who was not her.Later, she realisedTo see the full article you need to subscribeThe Department of Energy & Climate C...

May 18 2003 | Read Full Review of Story of My Father

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