Books by Nancy K. Miller

BREATHLESS by Nancy K. Miller
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 5, 2013

"Articulate, keen and satisfying."
A coming-of-age tale covering the author's 20s in Paris, where she studied, worked, lived on her own for the first time, fell in and out of love, and found solid ground beneath her feet. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"Painstakingly detailed at times, this quiet memoir is saved by Miller's deftly placed literary references, which offer an unusual, intellectual perspective on an often-told story."
A literature professor searches for her roots after her father's death, uncovering an intricate portrait of a Russian-Jewish immigrant family. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

An unsatisfying amalgam of autobiography and literary criticism that achieves the dubious distinction of rendering its subject less, not more, interesting. Miller (English/City Univ. of New York; Getting Personal, not reviewed) examines Philip Roth's Patrimony, Simone de Beauvoir's A Very Easy Death, Art Spiegelman's Maus, and several other memoirs about the death of a parent. She leavens her didactic analyses (which rely heavily on feminist and psychoanalytic theory) with brief passages of autobiography. These fragments are meant to bolster her arguments and, more importantly, to demonstrate a correlation between the literary task of memorializing a dead parent and her own attempts to come to terms with the deaths of her mother and father. But the short personal sections, most less than a page, provide only glimpses of Miller's uneasy relationship with her parents. Too brief to sustain narrative momentum and too disjointed to develop cumulative emotional power, these details- -which hint of a long-running ``war'' with her mother and a sense of regret about her own childlessness—seem coy and elusive in the absence of context. Considering her willingness to divine the psychological motives of Roth and company, this elusiveness is curious. Miller ably delineates the pitfalls memoirists encounter: the fear of invading privacy balanced with the desire for self- knowledge; the danger of self-censorship inherent in family narrative; and most provocatively, the disturbing mix of regret and relief many feel at a parent's death. But ultimately she is more successful at drawing connections among the books she discusses than at using them to illuminate her personal struggle. ``The critic's classic move is to track the places where the autobiographer seems blind to the screen of his own self- disclosure,'' Miller notes. This volume would be more compelling if Miller examined her own motives more closely. (photos, not seen) Read full book review >