Books by Joyce Howard

Released: Jan. 19, 1986

At 75, Miller was enjoying belated success in his native land and living at his new, very pleasant California home when he fell in love with a magnetic 27-year-old Japanese jazz singer, newly arrived in America, who was playing at a piano bar. This book contains his letters to Hoki, who, for three years, was the fifth Mrs. Miller. The marriage was the usual Miller crucifixion, with Miller leading himself by the nose directly up to the cross, providing hammer and nails, and reduplicating his childhood with a cold mother and his famed second marriage to taxi dancer June Mansfield (the "Mona" of the Tropics novels). Before marrying Miller, both wives made a living by entertaining men, and after marriage, often disappeared evenings, while Miller willingly deluded himself about their actions and agreed to their stories and evasions. With Hoki he knew even before marriage that he might be getting into cold water, since she married him to evade deportation and with the agreement that he would not force her to have sex. Apparently, their marriage remained unconsummated physically, a fact she broadcast in Japanese gossip rags, much to his disgust. As Miller learned with a vengeance, some Japanese never speak of love. "Never once have you shown me any love, any affection, any consideration—not even the respect due me as your husband. You have gone your own sweet way, doing only what pleased you, expecting devotion but showing none yourself. A spoiled, discontented child, thoroughly selfish, and acting as if she were a prisoner in her own home. . . But you show me no appreciation—only boredom, discontent. You can't bear to remain home for an evening. If you do, it is only to cut your toe nails, shampoo your hair or some such nonsense." No letters from her are included, but the ones he quotes show her hell of self-concern. Necessary addenda to the Miller bio, with some searing moments as he reels with insomnia from anxiety to anxiety. Watercolors, photos. Read full book review >