Louis has been forlorn since his wife of thirty-seven years left him, his father passed, and he impulsively retired from his job in anticipation of an inheritance check that may not come. On a routine trip to Walgreens to pick up his diabetes medication, he stops at a sign advertising free dogs. From the author of The Last Days of California and Always Happy Hour.
The narrative remains intimate throughout, swinging between neuroses and hilarity to create an empathetic depiction of masculinity. Biloxi is everything I want in a story: a man with an affinity for leftover Chili’s, an antisocial dog with digestive challenges, and a bunch of truly dislikable people I love regardless.
As disagreeable and contrary as they come, Louis is a narrator readers will want to hug and throttle with equal urgency, sometimes simultaneously. Delightful at sentence-level, this is foremost the story of his sluggish-but-sure metamorphosis. Even Layla gets a second act readers won’t see coming. Miller, an absolute master of minutiae, relates Louis’ innermost self with poignancy and humor that never sacrifice an ounce of realism.
Here’s my advice: Don’t think too much about this book — just enjoy it ... an entertaining, endearing story about a late-middle-aged, morose divorced guy who accidentally acquires a dog ... Miller’s charming and funny novel grows complicated in a hilarious sort of way, a way that you don’t want to examine too closely, with con men and drunkards, minor story lines that go nowhere, and all kinds of implausible twists and turns ... the ride is so much fun that you’d be a spoilsport for demanding that it all add up ... In the blurbs, critics compare Miller’s work to Lorrie Moore, early Ann Beattie and (oddly) Ernest Hemingway. I’d tuck Biloxi somewhere between Stewart O’Nan, who writes so knowingly about the small details of a quiet life, and the comic novels of Jonathan Evison. But why compare it to anyone? Miller’s good all on her own.