The Lake Shore Limited

by Sue Miller

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Featured image for The Lake Shore Limited

This was fabulous.

The book is a composite of four different characters stories set around a play being performed in New York. The Lake Shore Limited is the title of the play as well as this book and the play concerns a terrorist attack on the train with that name which runs from Chicago to New York. In the play inside the book this is a thinly veiled parallel to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in which the play characters work through themes of love and loss and for most of the play live in a world of Schroedinger’s Cat in which they don’t know if a character has lived or died.

In the book it turns out that the playwright is working from her real life to a large degree as she lost a boyfriend she was already falling out with on September 11th. There are huge quantities of emotional layers to this story. It really gets into how complicated relationships can grow to be over long periods of time. I felt all the characters were real people.

The author’s choice of the four characters to focus on seemed a little odd to me each time the voice changed but each time I realised after a while what this character was adding to the overall picture. Each character has a long section from their viewpoint and the only thing I thought didn’t quite work in the book was revisiting each character quickly at the end of the story. I thought this seemed a bit tacked on and added little that hadn’t been said earlier.

Overall a very deep and full story and one I’m glad I picked up.