Andrew Miller Oxygen

ISBN 13: 9780156027403

Oxygen

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9780156027403: Oxygen
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It is the summer of 1997. Alec Valentine is returning to England to care for his ailing mother, Alice, a task that only reinforces his deep sense of inadequacy. In San Francisco, his older brother Larry prepares to come home as well, preoccupied with an acting career that is sliding toward sleaze and a marriage that is faltering. In Paris, on the other hand, the Hungarian playwright Lászlo Lázár seems to have it all--critical acclaim, a loving boyfriend, and a close circle of friends--yet even he is haunted by guilt and tragedy. For each of them the time has come to assess the turns taken, the opportunities missed. And for each there will be one last chance to break free from the past and find redemption in a moment of clarity and courage.
Andrew Miller has given us an intimate, compelling meditation that evokes an extraordinary range of emotions and insights--Oxygen lives and breathes beyond the final page.

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In Andrew Miller's third novel, Oxygen, the award-winning author of Ingenious Pain offers an intense, claustrophobic tale of parallel lives, of regret and redemption.

A family reunion of sorts is underway in the summer of 1997 for Alice, a newly retired, long-widowed schoolteacher, dying of cancer at her home in the English countryside. Gathered at her side are her two sons: Alec, a myopic, indecisive translator, and the more gregarious Larry, an unemployed TV soap star whose glittering U.S. career is about to take a nosedive into the shabby territory of porn films, so he can stave off bankruptcy and hold on to his disintegrating marriage. The counterpoint to this scenario is Laszlo Lazar, Hungarian exile and feted playwright, whose latest work, Oxygen, Alec is translating. Lazar, who has a comfortable existence in one of the more fashionable Paris quartiers, seems to possess everything that Alec does not: critical success, a loving partner, a longstanding circle of artistic friends. Yet Lazar is tormented by memories of the 1956 uprising and a comrade he feels he betrayed. When a political splinter group asks him to undertake a mysterious mission, he seizes his chance to atone for the past.

Shifting between a quintessentially English idyll, the carousing bars of Paris, the physical and emotional aridity of California, and a Budapest of the past and present, Miller skillfully evokes his characters' stories and their common theme--the liberation of self--even if the end result is self-destruction. He writes compassionately of the terminally ill Alice, clinging to the last vestiges of life, the last agonizing breath: "Was that the last to go? Certain gestures, reflexes, a way of cocking the head or moving the hands in speech?" He reminds us that human beings have choices, even in despair, and he provides a suitably ambiguous ending to round off a wise and engrossing novel. --Catherine Taylor, Amazon.co.uk

From the Back Cover:

"Exquisitely detailed...A real talent." --Entertainment Weekly

It is the summer and Alec Valentine is returning to England to care for his ailing mother, Alice. In San Francisco, his older brother Larry prepares to come home as well, preoccupied with an acting career that is sliding toward sleaze and a marriage that is faltering. In Paris, on the other hand, the Hungarian playwright Lászlo Lázár seems to have it all--critical acclaim, a loving boyfriend, and a close circle of friends--yet even he is haunted by guilt and tragedy. For each of them the time has come to assess the turns taken, the opportunities missed, and the advent of one last chance to break free from the past and find redemption.
Intimate, compelling and evocative of an extraordinary range of emotions and insights, Oxygen lives and breathes beyond the final page.

A Whitbread Award finalist

"Elegantly written . . . an exhilarating journey through personal histories and a knowing glimpse at the ways we hold ourselves responsible for saving the people we love." --People

"Poignant, probing...grounded in a vivid sense of place and character, and enlivened by a sly, stoical wit that keeps cropping up where you least expect it. A bold, bracing book." --The Chicago Tribune

"Lovely, striking, strange, evocative. " --The Washington Post Book World

Born in England in 1960, Andrew Miller has lived in Spain, Japan, Ireland, and France. His first novel, Ingenious Pain, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the International IMPAC Award. He lives in London.

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ISBN 10:  0151007217 ISBN 13:  9780151007219
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9780340728253: Oxygen : A Novel

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