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The Virgin, Viv

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Length: 400 pages5 hours

Summary

Three people, strangers, meet. On the surface they have little in common, but they will transform each other’s lives. Pete Vogelsong, 38, breaking from a cult, returns to his old college to start a new career. Natalie Neff, 36, takes a menial job on her way back from horrendous grief. Then there is Vivien McBride, 22, who masks her pain from a past love affair in flamboyant promiscuity.

In a time before laptops and cellphones, before H.I.V. and the War on Terror, three strangers meet, wrangle and grow. Thanks to Miller’s careful hand, we share their voyage through confession, friction, and resolution, through humor, self-reflection, anguish, mutual concern and personal evolution. We laugh with them, worry about them, wring our hands at their decisions, feel their sorrows and joys, and finally, as their voices rise from the page, we come to know them simply as unforgettable.

What more do we ask from a work of fiction? This novel is supremely satisfying. Indeed, Miller has given us a masterpiece.

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