The protagonists in this slim but powerful short story collection are almost exclusively female: adolescent girls on the cusp of womanhood, daughters of difficult mothers, young women navigating complicated romantic and professional relationships, and mothers consumed with and feeling consumed by their children...Author and filmmaker Miller adeptly encapsulates these women’s experiences.
The protagonists are mostly women, privileged, if not necessarily wealthy, members of the liberal elite...Their passion often centers around children...The opener, 'Mrs. Covet,' concerns Daphne, an overwhelmed mother of three, one a newborn, who feels ambivalent about her new nanny; threatened by the nanny’s competence, Daphne also luxuriates in her novel freedom from parental responsibility until a crisis awakens her fierce maternal protectiveness...The mother in 'Vapors' is taking her 2-year-old for a walk when she runs into an old lover...When a teenager decides to rescue her younger sister from the institution where their well-meaning, quietly distraught parents have placed her, her plans go awry, but the telling is more sweet than bitter...There's family tragedy, comic class conflict, and an unexpected offer of money...A beautifully constructed, acutely felt, morally honest collection.
In Miller’s alluring collection, protagonists search for connection and pleasure in strange, sometimes destructive ways...Daphne in 'Mrs. Covet' is a mother of two, pregnant with a third...The family hires a cleaning lady named Nat, hoping for some order, but after Nat moves in, something disastrous happens...In the speculative title story, people have transcendent phone sex on devices called Total Phones, and the force field of an early version of the phone leads to birth defects... Miller brings a cinematic eye to her descriptions (a parking garage’s 'final floor' offers a 'vivid sky') and plenty of drama to the situations...These stories are full of surprises.