The Lake Shore Limited (Vintage Contemporaries)
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Meet Billy Gertz: a fiercely independent playwright, whose newest drama imagines the story of a man waiting to hear if his estranged wife has survived a cataclysmic event. As her life touches three other unforgettable characters, Billy’s play—the emotion behind its genesis and its powerful performance—forms the thread that binds them all together. A moving love story and a tale of connection and loss, The Lake Shore Limited is Sue Miller at her dazzling best.
stern. The scary Edmund, the one they all dreaded. "It was funny, Edmund," she insisted, trying to make him happy again. "Only mildly funny," he said. "I apologize then." She put her hand on her heart for a moment. "I only said it 'cause I was just so ... thrilled. It's actually almost embarrassing, I'm so happy. For him, and for me." "For us." "Right. For all of us." Now Edmund set his bulk down on the couch, grunting a bit. Here they were, the two of them, relaxed and happy in Gabriel's
flower garden. When Pierce came home from the hospital, he served them gin and tonics under the trees, and Leslie came and sat with them again. Billy didn't quite get Leslie and Pierce together, they seemed such an odd pair. Leslie fell almost silent around him, and he seemed entirely comfortable about that, about occupying center stage. Gus kept him going, too, asking him questions, almost teasing him sometimes. They told jokes for a while, in turn, and Pierce laughed loudly after each one,
with them. By now Billy could feel that her knees were stiffening up. "I'm getting older by the second in here," she said, shuffling down the corridor. "We all are," Sam said. "It's what hospitals are meant to do to you." Nothing was broken, the young man said, showing her the picture of her own intact, shadowy bones lighted from behind. He gave her a splint that closed with Velcro straps and told her to keep her wrist elevated and iced. She asked for and got a prescription for painkillers, and
emptied, silenced for days after a patient's death--to be reminded of her deepest feelings for him. She'd seen him then as wise, as deep. She'd had a sense of his having a greater understanding of death, of the price of love, particularly parental love, than she had. And of course all that was true of him. But he was also only Pierce. That was the thing she'd had to learn. He was the person he seemed to be--dismissive, flippant--as well as the person who understood how pain can change you. The
of the most beautiful slums in the city. Now it had been gentrified several times over--it was not just beautiful anymore, it was expensively beautiful. Across the street a row of storefronts took up the ground floors of the old brick town houses and, above them, like so many lighted stage sets, the apartments, one to a floor, it seemed. There were characters visible in several of them. Around him the theatergoers arrived and milled. Sam watched them, too--another of the pleasures of being