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Personal Velocity by Rebecca Miller

Personal Velocity

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Short stories from the author who brought us The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. The stories of seven women from different classes and backgrounds are told in this brilliant collection, with something for everyone to empathise with and thoroughly enjoy.


Personal Velocity by Rebecca Miller

The vibrantly fresh and lustrous stories in Miller’s collection explore the multifaceted lives of women in seven arresting portraits. Modern and diverse, these women of different classes and ages struggle with sexuality, fate, motherhood, infidelity, desperation, and an overriding will to survive. We meet Greta, a cookbook editor who is chosen by Tavi, the hottest writer of his generation, to edit his new book. The book becomes a best-seller and Greta is propelled out of her marriage by her own ambition and success. Other characters include Paula, a pregnant twenty-one-year-old, who is on the run from the horror of a man who was hit by a car and died while walking her home from a nightclub; Delia, an abused working-class wife who goes into hiding with her children; and Louisa, a painter who moves rapidly from one lover to the next, acting out a self-perpetuating drama over which she has no control. Edgy, fearless, and beautifully spare, Personal Velocity is a superb collection from one of the best writers in contemporary fiction.


Miller is a brilliantly observant writer with a sharp eye . . . In her hands, every emotion and state of mind are fully imagined and accurately realised. * * Daily Mail * * She is good with words: economical, deft with detail . . . Miller writes with a welcome sensitivity . . . compelling. * * Independent * * Emotionally and intellectually, every tale in this debut volume is a quick fix, a burst of clarity delivered at breakneck speed: perfect stuff for a visually orientated, easily distracted generation ... This is an excellent book. * * Guardian * * Miller really knows momentum. Each story launches a fully rounded character into play like a pinball sprung into action. * * Daily Telegraph * * A talented and highly visual writer. * * New York Times Book Review * * Just when you begin to think . . . that women's literary material is limited . . . something like Personal Velocity happens to remind us that good material is everywhere. [Miller is] a wonderful writer. -- Carolyn See * * Washington Post * * Rebecca Miller's debut story collection is a series of eye-opening portraits of women who are either struggling to attain self-knowledge or who are hopelessly plagued by it. . . . Miller's prose is alarmingly unvarnished, as if she's hovering above . . . questions of identity and desire with transcendent impartiality. . . . Miller might pretend to be detached and objective as she probes these quandaries, but she's always humane, always honest, and always entertaining. -- Mark Rozzo * * Los Angeles Times Book Review * * Whether Miller is writing about sophisticated New Yorkers or (in Delia) a wife who, with her three bewidlered children flees from a violent husband, her stories conjure up lives and worlds that linger in the memory. * * Sunday Times * *

About the Author

Rebecca Miller

Rebecca Miller worked as a painter and actress before becoming a writer and director. She is the author of the short story collection Personal Velocity, her feature film adaptation of which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and also directed The Ballad of Jack and Rose, which starred her husband Daniel Day-Lewis, and Angela. She lives in Ireland and New York with her family.

Author photo © Gene Page

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd July 2009


Rebecca Miller

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Canongate Books Ltd


224 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Short stories



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