Cover image for Oxygen
Miller, Andrew, 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
8 audio discs (9.5 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.

Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The author of Ingenious Pain (1997) and Casanova in Love (1998) tells of Alec Valentine, a translator who leaves his bland life in London to care for his dying mother in the West Country. His golden-boy brother, Larry, is a former tennis champion and now an actor in California whose career and marriage are heading south. When Larry joins his brother in England as their mother lies dying, both of their seemingly failing lives come into focus as their mother's impending death forces them to grapple with their own inadequacies. Interspersed in this family tale is the story of playwright LaszloLazar, a Hungarian exile living in Paris, whose play Alec is translating. Despite apparently having the perfect life, Laszlois also battling demons from his past. All eventually find redemption in this beautifully written and vividly engaging novel, as Alec and Larry reconcile their relationships, their careers, and find solace in their mother's death, while Laszlois given another chance to fight injustice and make a difference. --Michael Spinella

Publisher's Weekly Review

Three characters on the cusp of crisis and one on the brink of death inhabit Miller's moving new novel, in which each grapples with despair and discovers that love can confer purifying strength. Widowed school administrator Alice Valentine is dying at her home in England's West Country. She's dependent on an oxygen tank and on her younger son, Alec, who has left his London apartment to care for her. Depressed and feeling unable to cope, the unstable Alec has coincidentally received an assignment that could make his career: to translate a play called Oxygne, written in French by Hungarian exile L szl" L z r. Alice's older son, Larry, had always been the successful brother, early on as a tennis star and later as a TV actor. But Larry's been out of a job for some time, and drink and drugs have eroded his moral judgment, alienated his wife and possibly affected his six-year-old daughter. When the family convenes at Alice's bedside for what will be her last birthday, each member is submerged in private struggles. Meanwhile, in Paris, L szl" is surrounded by friends and grateful for the devotion of his lover, Kurt, but he remains guilt-ridden because of his failure to avert a tragedy during the Hungarian uprising in 1956. Contacted by Albanian exiles conspiring to fight the Serbs in Kosovo, L szl" has a chance to redeem himself on a dangerous mission. With brilliant dexterity, Miller intertwines the strands of his plot and leads each character to epiphanies, capped by a breathtaking denouement. Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, won several important literary prizes, including the IMPAC. It's no wonder that Oxygen was a Booker Prize finalist. Written in elegant, resonant prose, this book breathes with compassion and honesty, and with the rare quality called hope. (Apr.) Forecast: Apt comparisons to Michael Cunningham's The Hours may add impetus to sales bound to be initiated by good reviews and a seven-city author tour. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Miller provides the listener with some terrific descriptions and some intriguing ideas on life and death. What starts out as four stories-Alice Valentine's cancer; her son Larry's failing career and marriage; his brother Alec's inability to deal with either Alice's illness or Larry's past successes; and playwright Lazlo Lazar's coming to terms with a personal failure during the Hungarian uprising of 1956-all well read by Gordon Griffin, ends as two narrative lines, perhaps leading to new beginnings for the Valentines, perhaps a violent end for Lazlo. This is a complicated investigation that looks into the why and why not of existence and the extent to which people can exert control over the life in which they find themselves trapped. There are lots of plot strands that Miller leaves for the listener to connect. Some appear to be dead ends; some describe ambiguous ties, such as Alec translating Lazlo's play Oxygen: the pointless exertion of effort underground by a trapped miner running low on air, contrasted with his girlfriend's violent, noisy, and ultimately ineffectual actions on the surface. Recommended.-Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.