The Lake Shore Limited

The Lake Shore Limited

by Sue Miller
3.2 61


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The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller

Meet Billy Gertz: a fiercely independent playwright, whose newest drama imagines the story of a man waiting to hear if his estranged wife has survived a cataclysmic event. As her life touches three other unforgettable characters, Billy’s play—the emotion behind its genesis and its powerful performance—forms the thread that binds them all together. A moving love story and a tale of connection and loss, The Lake Shore Limited is Sue Miller at her dazzling best.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307264213
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Sue Miller is the best-selling author of the novels The Senator’s Wife, Lost in the Forest, The World Below, While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest, For Love, Family Pictures, and The Good Mother; the story collection Inventing the Abbotts; and the memoir The Story of My Father. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.


Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

November 29, 1943

Place of Birth:

Chicago, Illinois


B.A., Radcliffe College, 1964; M.A.T., Wesleyan U., 1965; Ed.M., Harvard U., 1975; M.A. Boston U., 1980

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The Lake Shore Limited 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Author Wilhelmina "Billy" Gertz writes a play about an anxious family learning of the terrorist bombing of The Lake Shore Limited as the train enters Union Station in Chicago as their mother-wife is on board. Billy knows she is the model for the estranged husband in her play as she waited for news whether her lover Gus died on one of the 9/11 plane crashes. Gus's sister Leslie believes her late younger brother found the love of his life in Billy. Still Leslie tries to set up Billy with her friend Sam as she assumes the playwright is grieving her loss and the Lake Shore Limited was her catharsis. Meanwhile Rafe who has the role of the aloof husband in the play feels remorse and survivir guilt as his wife is dying, The play within the novel is not a new idea, but brilliantly used by Sue Miller to bring together a post 9/11 quarter either grieving or suffering from guilt as each has personal issues. The story line rotates perspective so that the audience obtains a deep look at grief and healing as only love can bring to the soul. The Lake Shore Limited is a terrific character driven tale as readers will relish Sue Miller's profound look at surviving tragedy by putting a face to those 3000 plus who died on 9/11. Harriet Klausner
Lollypop99 More than 1 year ago
The novel is about Billy Gertz, a playwriter who is very honest and forthright. The play she wrote is about a terrorist bombing on a train and about a man waiting to hear the fate of his estranged wife who is traveling on it. This sounds very interesting, but I cannot lie, I had difficulty getting through the book. Everytime I picked it back up to read, I had to re-read the last chapter just to get back into the story. This is probably a great book, but my high school education does not give me the benefit of appreciating this book and I do so apologize. It's a lot like the movie AVATAR, everyone else loved it, and I sat in my sit squirmy and shaking because I couldn't wait for it to be over. Read this book and I got a feeling you'll love it, it just wasn't for me.
lorabele More than 1 year ago
If you like a book that moves at the speed of a snail, this is the book for you. It was redundant, long-winded, and all together pointless. It started out with great promise. I loved the play. Then it just pretty much stopped dead in its tracks. The same events are retold by other characters to, I suppose, get their point of view. Problem is that their point of view really didn't vary from the first telling. There are many readers who enjoy page after page of nothing really happening. I'm not one of them. I don't read a book for someone to take three pages to walk in the room. I like books where they walk in the room and something happens in the same sentence. Reading this was torture for someone like me.
mraugustwestie More than 1 year ago
The Lake Shore Limited is a train bound for Chicago that becomes the victim of a fictional terrorist bombing as it pulls into Union Station. This incident becomes a pivotal point for a play with the same title describing a husband's conflicted response when he learns his estranged wife was on board this train. Captivatingly, Miller uses a brilliant, but technically difficult technique, of interfacing the play with her characters and the readers as her audience. She unfolds the entire play, which provides us with the insight we need for the varying perceptions of her four main characters. The center character is the playwright, Billy Gertz, who lost her much younger boyfriend, Gus in one of the tragic 9 /11 flights. Gus was flying to Los Angeles for his father's funeral to meet up with his devoted sister, Leslie. Leslie and her husband, Pierce, a pediatric oncologist, have invited Sam, a widower to meet them to see the play. The main character in the play is "Gabriel" played by Rafe, a 45 year old actor who has never really made it. This role serves him well and Billy uses him to embellish her play to its dramatic climax. The four characters: Leslie, Billy, Rafe and Sam are the narrators who stop to reflect as they take walks, eat meals, have sex. Their experiences revolve around loss or forthcoming bereavement. Sam, a rather successful architect, lost his wife and even though, he appeared to be the super Mr. Mom when his wife was dying, feels like a failure. Leslie, who almost had a fling with Sam, is caught up in her desires and reliance on the safe thing to do. Rafe, whose wife is dying from Lou Gehrig's disease provides the most spot-on portrayal of someone whose guilt saturates him. Rafe's trip to his mother-in-law's home to tell of her daughter's disease and impending death is one of the most poignant scenes. The main action revolves around Billy, for whom I had the least sympathy. Her anguish over Gus' death was not pure grief and Miller created her subsequent actions as self-serving. All of this takes me to the theme of the book which, I believe, is how life would be if we are not encumbered. We don't have to play nice with each other, but we will continue to suffer inner turmoil. There are many unsettling truths as we desperately discover why we feel the way we do and the choices we have made.
katz27 More than 1 year ago
I read this book in two days. I could not put it down. I was a little confused at first by the characters and "who's who", but once I figured them out I found them all to be enthralling and an excellent read. Miller does character portrayls so well, makes us feel like we know the person. Not as good as While I Was Gone or A Good Mother, but definitely worth the ready.
MoreThanJustMom More than 1 year ago
This book might have been better if the author had fleshed out the characters more deeply, especially the main character, Billy. I think the premise, speculating how someone who lost a lover on 9/11, whom the survivor was no longer in love with was an intriguing plotline. However, Sue Miller did not do the subject justice in my opinion. Also the gratuitous political items (discussions between characters on upcoming elections) added nothing to the story and only served to make this reader unlikely to read another book by this author because of the obvious bent against Republicans.
EBG74 More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a read with well developed characters struggling to deal with loss and loss of feeling, this is the read for you. Sadly short on hope, but a good tale of recovery with a glimmer of life moving forward.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She walked to the shore of the lake, looking down at the water. It moved softly, but otherwise nothing peered at her from the depths. Her eyes turned to Izzy. "What is it?" She asked, setting a hand on her sword hilt, mre for comfort than out of possibility she may need it.
Maertel More than 1 year ago
Great title, but too much tension with BOTH 9/ll and a Chicago terrorist bombing. One longs for a good story, like a sequel to THE WORLD BELOW, interweaving Fiona (a well liked character who needed deeper development), Jessie (an unknown except for her incredible will to live outside the hospital nursery), Catherine (who's kinda shallow, passionless, and judgmental, but good, of course), and Samuel, who could provide the spark to unite them all back in Vermont. This time, given the background of the diaries and all the deaths and divorces, with more joy and insight into lives filled with realistic challenges and a lot more fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I chose this book because i enjoyed the senators wife. This did not measure up. Disappoonnting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
A couple, Leslie and Pierce, are visiting Boston for the opening of a show written by Billy, former lover of Leslie’s brother Gus who was murdered in a plane crash on 9/11. The show is not supposed to be about 9/11, but it definitely evokes thoughts about it, especially for Leslie. As Leslie witnesses the actor’s portrayal of characteristics which seem to be taken from her brother Gus, and his former lover’s feelings about their family and sundry life events, she becomes aware of a bit of the personal life and problems that must have existed between her brother and Billy, upsetting problems she was unaware of until she saw the play. On stage, the story, on the surface, is about a couple, Gabriel and Elizabeth. Elizabeth has had thoughts questioning their future together and has gone off to think. Gabriel has also questioned their relationship and has been restless and unfaithful. The train returning her home was involved in a terrorist attack and whether or not she survives, and the reaction to that possibility, is the crux of the story. Secrets are exposed which cause pain, and ultimately renewal in some cases, even offering some a second chance at life. There are many parallels in the lives of the actors on stage and those of the audience, particularly to Leslie and her friend Sam, whom she has invited to meet Billy, and to Billy and Gus. Viewing the play causes conflict in Leslie and somewhat of an epiphany in Sam, regarding his past relationships. The main actor, Gabriel (Rafe), brings his own grief and suffering to the part he plays, which makes his performance even more real to the audience and inspires him to rethink his life and change his ways. The play itself raises many questions which the audience appreciates and investigates long after it is over. I listened to the narrative which was read by the author. She did an admirable job but might have been better served by a professional reader with a more resonant, expressive voice, rather than hers which was a bit scratchy. Still, it was a good reading of the book. Also, if the too explicit, unseemly sexual descriptions had been left out and the insensitive and unwarranted political points of view had been deleted, I would have given the book four stars, instead of three. These two issues, so superciliously expressed, detracted me so much from the main theme of the story, however, that I could not. Both had nothing to do with the theme of the story, did not enhance it, and simply served to allow her to use her bully pulpit to spread her liberal ideas to a wider audience, even contested points of view. I dislike when an author foists an unrequested political view upon the reader, often views they may not share, when they are not pertinent to the substance of the novel. It is for this reason that I dialed back my rating on the book. I read about how the author recognized the value of a play when it caused the viewers to explore their own feelings and lives, as a result of seeing it. In much the same way, I think a book impacts the reader’s life, when the readers use the experience to examine the lives they lead. Perhaps this is such a book.
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