Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York
We all have roles to play. But what happens when the expectations from that role do not fit the depths of our soul? In The Lake Shore Limited four characters find a way out of their guilt and grief. Deeply layered in nuances of infidelity, passion, guilt, and loss we see the ambivalence of the situations and find self-forgiveness, hope, and grace.
Using a “story within a story” we get to see the characters work through their issues while in a play about a terrorist bombing on a train, a post 9/11 drama, opening old wounds brought on by tragedy to help us heal. The play relives those moments suspended in time just before you know whether you have lost that one special someone.
Leslie is the devoted mother figure who loses her brother Gus in one of the planes that flew into the World Trade Center on September 11th. Billy is the talented and driven playwright and girlfriend of Leslie’s brother, Gus. Rafe, is a talented actor, who struggles with a terminally ill wife at home but reaches to new heights in the final moments of the last act. But what has caused the change in his performance? Sam, an old friend and infatuation of Leslie’s, has old wounds and scars from his children, who were less than appreciative of his trials when their mother was dying. He is trying to move on with his life, but sees himself in the main character of the play and must deal with his demons once and for all. Each character brings to light the question of possibilities and “What if?”
Although I do not put this novel in the same category as The Senator’s Wife, it is still good a good read. Sometimes a little too sexually graphic for me, Sue Miller does an extraordinary job showing us our inabilities to communicate with each and be honest with ourselves.
Joanne Tailele has been a full time resident of Marco Island for two years. Born in Youngstown, her last “home” for 12 years was Columbus, Ohio. Between Joanne and her husband, she has six children and nine grandchildren. She works as receptionist for a local real estate company.