The World Below

The World Below

by Sue Miller
3.8 17

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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The World Below by Sue Miller

From the author of While I Was Gone, a stunning new novel that showcases Sue Miller's singular gift for exposing the nerves that lie hidden in marriages and families, and the hopes and regrets that lie buried in the hearts of women.

Maine, 1919. Georgia Rice, who has cared for her father and two siblings since her mother's death, is diagnosed, at nineteen, with tuberculosis and sent away to a sanitarium. Freed from the burdens of caretaking, she discovers a nearly lost world of youth and possibility, and meets the doomed young man who will become her lover.

Vermont, the present. On the heels of a divorce, Catherine Hubbard, Georgia's granddaughter, takes up residence in Georgia's old house. Sorting through her own affairs, Cath stumbles upon the true story of Georgia's life and marriage, and of the misunderstanding upon which she built a lasting love.

With the tales of these two women--one a country doctor's wife with a haunting past, the other a twice-divorced San Francisco schoolteacher casting about at midlife for answers to her future--Miller offers us a novel of astonishing richness and emotional depth. Linked by bitter disappointments, compromise, and powerful grace, the lives of Georgia and Cath begin to seem remarkably similar, despite their distinctly different times: two young girls, generations apart, motherless at nearly the same age, thrust into early adulthood, struggling with confusing bonds of attachment and guilt; both of them in marriages that are not what they seem, forced to make choices that call into question the very nature of intimacy, faithfulness, betrayal, and love. Marvelously written, expertly told, The World Belowcaptures the shadowy half-truths of the visible world, and the beauty and sorrow submerged beneath the surfaces of our lives--the lost world of the past, our lost hopes for the future. A tour de force from one of our most beloved storytellers.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345481061
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/26/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 4.23(w) x 6.85(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Sue Miller was born in Chicago in 1943, the second of four children in an academic and ecclesiastical family. She grew up reading, writing, and dancing to 50's rhythm and blues in Hyde Park, and went to college at Harvard. She was married at twenty, shortly after she graduated, and held a series of odd jobs until her son Ben was born in 1968. She separated from her first husband in 1971, and for thirteen years was a single parent in Cambridge, Massachusetts, working in day care, taking in roomers, studying the piano, and writing with increasing focus.

Sue Miller’s first story was published in 1981. Since then, she has taught in various writing programs in the Boston area. In 1983-84 Sue Miller had a Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe, which led her to the publication of her first novel, The Good Mother. She finished the novel in 1985, it was published 1986, and was quickly followed by a collection of short stories. In the 90’s she published Family Pictures, For Love, The Distinguished Guest, and While I Was Gone. She is currently writing a memoir about her father’s death from Alzheimer’s disease.

Sue Miller was married in 1985 to the writer Douglas Bauer. They are now divorced. After living in Boston for 12 years, Sue Miller returned this spring to Cambridge, which she refers to as the land of many bookstores.


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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World Below 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
LibbieBond More than 1 year ago
Doomed romances and relationships, numerous deaths and family secrets, and stories from the past and present set the standards for a great book. Sue Miller's book, The World Below includes all characteristics, and starts off with potential to be a great read. However, a few pages in leaves readers wondering how it could be a New York Times Notable Book and a National Bestseller. With weak characters, predictable plot, and awkward relationships, The World Below is a huge letdown. Cat Hubbard, two-time divorcee, escapes across country in the dead of winter to rural Vermont. Staying in the home of her grandparents and where she grew up, Cat tries to find herself again. While rummaging through the attic, she stumbles upon her grandmother's journals. The book then rotates between present day, Cat's childhood, and her grandmother's life; each time period as boring and forgettable as the next. 50-year-old Cat, trying to remember who she used to be, remains in Vermont for several months until her pregnant, middle-aged daughter goes into labor. Cat zooms back to California leaving multiple strings hanging. An awkward and unfit relationship with 70-year-old historian, Samuel, and rediscovering herself included. Extremely drug out and depthless, Sue Miller's book falls flat. Every part is feeble and forgettable; characters, plot, and setting. The book deserves one out of five stars, maybe. All 275 pages creep sluggishly by, causing one to find better things to do; chores, laundry, or even homework.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intresting book and introspective
Maertel More than 1 year ago
Plot moves along though characters need more for readers to care deeply about. I hope there is a sequel, involving Jessie and Samuel.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the author's writing style and the development of the characters. I will recommend this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another great book by Sue Miller. I loved the storyline of Georgia and seeing how it would have been in my own grandmother's day. I too was sent to my grandparents every summer for a number of years and this book put a lot of things into perspective for me. I thought it was very interesting. My only complaint is that I felt there wasn't really an "exciting climax". That felt sort of like a let down. But Miller's writing is superb and it was a great story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the way the author attempts to understand the life/times of her grandmother. As the book developed, I found myself just as excited as the narrator was to fill in some of the blanks of her grandmother's life. History is like this--murky and indefinite. A good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book, definitely worth the read. If you like it, read Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate, which got five stars from me.