Searching for connections

When Sue Miller's latest novel opens, Jo and Daniel Becker are enjoying a leisurely afternoon on a lake. He is fishing and she is resting, half asleep, in the bow of the boat. The book's title is also its theme: While I Was Gone. This latest novel from the author of The Good Mother begins when Jo "goes away" into a brief moment of self-awareness, which she realizes is impossible to share with anyone else.

"I was abruptly and most intensely, sharply aware of all the aspects of life surrounding me and yet of feeling neither a part of it nor truly separated from it. Somehow impartial, un­attached--an observer. Yet sentient of it all. Deeply sentient, in fact. But to no apparent purpose." In that moment, Jo is disconnected from her husband, the pastor of a local church, from her life as a mother of three grown children, and from her job as a veterinarian.


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