Cover image for The Miller masks : a novel in stories
The Miller masks : a novel in stories
Isaacs, Neil D., 1931-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, CA : Fithian Press ; Bethesda, MD : WID Pub. Group, 2000.
Physical Description:
205 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Breezy but self-indulgent, Isaacs's 18 linked stories follow Jesse Miller from his Bronx childhood ("What I experienced there was a part of what I have since learned to call the curse of bright children") to middle age, when he's a Washington, D.C., college teacher. In between, Jesse is a Dartmouth student, a literary critic, a sports fan, a married man, a divorc‚, a magazine editor, a freelance writer and, above all, a talker. He finds epiphanies at every turn, even while urinating outside a girl's dorm: "I piss my youth away on the Skidmore lawn, and the only sound is an endless a cappella `aah.'" The breakup of his marriage to Rachel is followed by romantic misadventures: among his paramours are Shelley, who ends their relationship because "I can't stand any man who gets along with my sons"; Muffy, whose preppy trappings Jesse finds fascinating; and Maggie, who meets Jesse when she submits a witty parody of deconstructionist theory to his literary journal. Like Jesse, Isaacs (Jock Culture, USA; The Great Molinas) is a D.C.-area college professor who writes about sports. This book seems meant as academic self-satire, in the vein of Saul Bellow's Herzog. But Isaacs's protagonist foists on readers frequent and less-than-sparkling monologues: a Moody Blues concert moves Jesse to ponder the band's career; after a caution from his literary agent, Jesse reflects, "Forewarned is forearmed... then wonder[s] what forearms had to do with anything." Jesse later spends three pages telling his lover Linda all about a Harvard Law School Scrabble game. Jesse's contemporaries may find themselves reflected in his experiences; other readers are likely to tune him out. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved