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James ParkerThe Optimists is a work of solemn artistry. Miller's style is one of guarded lyricism, in which he allows just enough poetry in the language to get the job done, the mood or moment caught. The sharpest of his senses seems to be his ear. A car engine is turned off in a wood: ''Quietness, like the hissing in a shell, seeped through the skin of the car.'' A long-neglected tap is turned on: ''Yards of old piping juddered, there was a burst of musty air, then the sudden slap of water on the worn enamel.''
— The New York Times