While I Was Gone

While I Was Gone

A Novel

Book - 1999
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Random House, Inc.
“Riveting . . . While I Was Gone [celebrates] what is impulsive in human nature.”
–The New York Times

“Miller weaves her themes of secrecy, betrayal, and forgiveness into a narrative that shines.”

Jo Becker has every reason to be content. She has three dynamic daughters, a loving marriage, and a rewarding career. But she feels a sense of unease. Then an old housemate reappears, sending Jo back to a distant past when she lived in a communal house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Drawn deeper into her memories of that fateful summer in 1968, Jo begins to obsess about the person she once was. As she is pulled farther from her present life, her husband, and her world, Jo struggles against becoming enveloped by her past and its dark secret.

“[While I Was Gone] swoops gracefully between the past and the present, between a woman’s complex feelings about her husband and her equally complex fantasies–and fears–about another man. . . . [Miller writes] well about the trials of faith.”
–The New York Times Book Review

“Quietly gripping . . . Jo shines steadily as the flawed and thoroughly modern heroine. As in her 1986 novel, The Good Mother, Miller shows how impulses can fracture the family.”
–USA Today

“Marvelous . . . poignant . . . powerful.”
–Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer
'Riveting . . . The narrative pacing is masterly, building tension even in the most psychologically subtle passages. . . . While I Was Gone celebrate[s] what is impulsive in human nature.' --CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT The New York Times 'MILLER WEAVES HER THEMES OF SECRECY, BETRAYAL AND FORGIVENESS INTO A NARRATIVE THAT SHINES.' --Time 'FASCINATING . . . A NEW NOVEL OF GREAT INTEGRITY AND POWER . . . Despite having a loving husband, three vivacious daughters, a beautiful home in rural Massachusetts, and satisfaction in her work, Jo Becker's mind is invaded by a persistent restlessness. Then, an old roommate reappears to bring back Jo's memories of her early 20s. . . . Her obsession with that period of her life and with the crime that concluded it eventually estrange Jo from everything she holds dear, causing her to tell lie after lie as she is pulled closer to this man from her past--and to a horrible secret.' --Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 'MARVELOUS . . . POIGNANT . . . POWERFUL.' --Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer 'A BEAUTIFUL AND FRIGHTENING BOOK . . . MANY READERS WILL FIND IT DIFFICULT TO FORGET. . . . It swoops gracefully between the past and the present, between a woman's complex feelings about her husband and her equally complex fantasies--and fears--about another man. . . . I can think of few contemporary novelists--John Updike and Frederick Buechner are two others--who write so well about the trials of faith.' --The New York Times Book Review 'QUIETLY GRIPPING . . . Jo shines steadily as the flawed and thoroughly modern heroine. As in her 1986 novel, The Good Mother, Miller shows how impulses can fracture the family.' --USA Today

Baker & Taylor
Having moved on with her life after a friend was brutally murdered, Jo Becker is now married with a grown family, but when an old housemate moves into the neighborhood, Jo rekindles a relationship that takes her back to the past and threatens her future

Publisher: New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1999
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780345443281
Branch Call Number: FICTION MILLER
Characteristics: 265 p. ; 25 cm


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Oct 07, 2016

Well, without spoiling anything, While I Was Gone was an immediate attention grabber, well written, and who wouldn't want to run into an "old friend" from our younger past, from our younger self, of who we are not today.

Anyways, i "anticipated" what was to come, which is very disappointing, and the end, well, let's just say I became disappointed in the ending. The last three (3) chapters i had to push myself to get through, and wanted to shake and slap "Jo". (lol)

Jul 30, 2012

This book grabbed my attention from the start and I couldn't put it down, but about halfway through the story sort of fizzled out and I had to force myself to finish it. Well-written, but definitely more of a story of self-reflection than a mystery/crime story it showed potential of becoming, which was the aspect I found interesting.

Jun 24, 2012

Interesting read. It got me reading another Sue Miller book.

Oct 30, 2010

A nice slow reading book if you're busy and can't read it everyday.

Jul 28, 2010

didn't care for it!

Aug 14, 2008

I really liked this book. Not sure if it was the first or second Sue Miller book I read, but it really touched me with the ties into motherhood, being a wife, and managing a career. Also made me think of how I can be present in my life more.


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