Filled with insights that are hallmarks of Anna Quindlen s bestsellers, this extraordinary novel is about a woman coming of age, as she unearths secrets about her family and her town, and surprising truths about herself." Read more...
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Filled with insights that are hallmarks of Anna Quindlen s bestsellers, this extraordinary novel is about a woman coming of age, as she unearths secrets about her family and her town, and surprising truths about herself."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-12-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Quindlens latest novel, following Still Life with Breadcrumbs, is a moving exploration of family and notions of home. Mimi Miller recounts her life beginning in the 1960s in Millers Valley, a small Pennsylvania town where her family has been firmly rooted for generations. Government officials warn that a flood could drown the family farm, and Mimi observes her communitys reactions while trying to reconcile her own ambitions with her loyalty to home. Her father refuses to relocate, and seeing his stubbornness, Mimi begins to understand her mothers own unrealized dreams. She also wonders about her reclusive aunt, who lives in a small house on their property and never ventures outside. She watches as her brother, Tommy, tries to escape a feeling of stagnancy by enlisting in the military, only to find himself more trapped than before. Meanwhile, she forges her own escapes into school, romance, and sex. Though the pacing is somewhat uneven, Quindlens prose is crisp and her insights resonant. This coming-of-age story is driven as much by the fully realized characters as it is by the astute ideas about progress and place. (Apr.)
Down in the valley
Mary Margaret Miller’s family has called Miller’s Valley home for hundreds of years. Everyone knows little Mimi, as she’s called, by name. She’s grown up in the shadow of older brothers Eddie and Tommy. She’s risen early to help her father with farm chores. She has observed her mother’s knowing ways; Miriam, a nurse, always seems to know what’s happening before anyone else.
So when a government official arrives to tell residents that the land they call home is destined to become a reservoir, Mimi isn’t pleased. She knows the valley has its problems: After a heavy rain, residents are often forced to dry out their homes and throw out items damaged by the rising water. But the Pennsylvania valley is home.
In Miller’s Valley, bestselling novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Anna Quindlen offers a textured portrayal of small-town life. Mimi’s desire to understand her family and the place she calls home begins in the 1960s and evolves over the decades. She’s young when talk of flooding the valley begins, but she’s also bright. With a teacher’s encouragement, Mimi takes on a science research project. As she delves into the area’s history, Mimi begins to understand the reality the valley faces. But her family remains a mystery in many ways.
Every Quindlen novel seems to reveal the author’s deft storytelling skill in new ways. Miller’s Valley is a gentle story that unfolds slowly and invites the reader to savor each page. It is a tale to get lost in.