Rebecca Miller returns to short fiction for the first time since her prodigious collection of stories, Personal Velocity, with the arresting, darkly prescient Total.
From Dublin to Martha’s Vineyard, from the anxious comforts of motherhood to a technologically infected near future that mirrors today with dark prescience, each of the seven stories in Total is a world of its own, painted with vivid strokes, whose people and questions stay with the reader long after the story has ended. Joad, one of the first characters we meet, finds onionskin pages crammed in a locked desk drawer while refurbishing a Hudson Valley farmhouse; the terrifying words on the fragile paper haunt Joad and her husband, the woman who wrote them looming over the couple like a malevolent spirit. Her words embody the power of the act of creation and the insidious, untamable force of language once it has left one’s pen.
The author of The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and Jacob’s Folly, as well as an award-winning filmmaker, Miller has “the soaring eye of the epicist and the sly instinct of the satirist” (The New Yorker), and her talents are on full display in Total. Each voice and life captured in these haunting stories is unforgettable.