Lost in the Forest, by Sue Miller

Those last two reviews make it sound like I’m particularly hard to please, don’t they? In both cases I tried a novel by a writers who previous work I had enjoyed, and in both cases I was let down.  This was my third shot, as I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Sue Miller in the past.  This time the results were much happier.

Lost in the Forest is the story of a family’s response to a sudden, tragic death. When John is killed by a car, his wife Eva is devastated, as are their three children — teenaged Emily and Daisy, Eva’s sons from her first marriage, and Eva and John’s small son Theo.  Eva’s ex-husband Mark is also affected by John’s death as he tries to step into the gap in his daughters’ lives — and finds himself wishing he could step back into the gap in Eva’s life as well.  Meanwhile, out of all the family Daisy finds it hardest to adjust and her loneliness and pain lead her into a dangerous relationship.

Lost in the Forest is told from multiple viewpoints, as Miller slips into and out of the heads of the different family members.  Each voice sounds sure and believable, and the writing is clear, easy and insightful — well-written without being showy.  As a fictional exploration of how people cope with grief, Lost in the Forest is a thoroughly engrossing book.

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