The Story of My Father: A Memoir

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Random House Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 208 pages
In the fall of 1988, Sue Miller found herself caring for her father as he slipped into the grasp of Alzheimer's disease. She was, she claims, perhaps the least constitutionally suited of all her siblings to be in the role in which she suddenly found herself, and in The Story of My Father she grapples with the haunting memories of those final months and the larger narrative of her father's life. With compassion, self-scrutiny, and an urgency born of her own yearning to rescue her father's memory from the disorder and oblivion that marked his dying and death, Sue Miller takes us on an intensely personal journey that becomes, by virtue of her enormous gifts of observation, perception, and literary precision, a universal story of fathers and daughters.

James Nichols was a fourth-generation minister, a retired professor from Princeton Theological Seminary. Sue Miller brings her father brilliantly to life in these pages-his religious faith, his endless patience with his children, his gaiety and willingness to delight in the ridiculous, his singular gifts as a listener, and the rituals of church life that stayed with him through his final days. She recalls the bitter irony of watching him, a church historian, wrestle with a disease that inexorably lays waste to notions of time, history, and meaning. She recounts her struggle with doctors, her deep ambivalence about many of her own choices, and the difficulty of finding, continually, the humane and moral response to a disease whose special cruelty it is to dissolve particularities and to diminish, in so many ways, the humanity of those it strikes. She reflects, unforgettably, on the variable nature of memory, the paradox of trying to weave a truthful narrative from the threads of a dissolving life. And she offers stunning insight into her own life as both a daughter and a writer, two roles that swell together here in a poignant meditation on the consolations of storytelling.

With the care, restraint, and consummate skill that define her beloved and best-selling fiction, Sue Miller now gives us a rigorous, compassionate inventory of two lives, in a memoir destined to offer comfort to all sons and daughters struggling-as we all eventually must-to make peace with their fathers and with themselves.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TimBazzett - LibraryThing

This is a deeply affecting account of a father's descent into the vacancy of Alzheimer's as recounted by his daughter, who in this case is the bestselling author, Sue Miller. I was initially attracted ... Read full review

THE STORY OF MY FATHER: A Memoir

User Review  - Kirkus

In a perfectly pitched memoir, novelist Miller (The World Below, 2001, etc.) movingly depicts the bittersweet emotions provoked by the toll Alzheimer's exacted on her father. He was an ordained ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
10
Section 3
27
Section 4
32
Section 5
44
Section 6
47
Section 7
49
Section 8
51
Section 11
88
Section 12
113
Section 13
118
Section 14
138
Section 15
157
Section 16
173
Section 17
177
Section 18
183

Section 9
63
Section 10
86

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About the author (2007)

Sue Miller is the best-selling author of The World Below, While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest, For Love, Family Pictures, Inventing the Abbotts, and The Good Mother. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic information