More Miracle Than Bird

Alice Miller. Tin House, $25.95 (360p) ISBN 978-1-947793-76-7
Miller’s solid debut draws on the life of literary translator Georgiana Hyde-Lees, who married W.B. Yeats. The story opens in war-weary 1916 London, at a hospital filled with recuperating soldiers. Georgie has taken a nursing job, where she fends off suitors by telling them about her sweetheart—the much older Willy Yeats. Georgie also attends meetings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a secret society devoted to the occult that Willy has joined, and believes this shared interest means they are meant for each other, though Willie isn’t ready to settle down. Georgie searches for clues to her future happiness at gatherings of the Order and in séances with a young medium named Nora Radcliffe, though she senses something sinister (“for a terrifying minute the map of her brain seemed wiped pale”). After Georgie is fired for lying to get time off, she determines to marry Willy despite the age difference and his reputation as a ladies’ man. Though readers know from the beginning Georgie will marry Willy, Miller maintains tension by laying out plenty of plausible alternatives. Historical fiction devotees will appreciate this sensitive character study wrapped in an atmospheric, moody rendering of WWI London. Agent: Geri Thoma, Writers House. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/03/2020
Release date: 06/02/2020
Genre: Fiction
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-8083-5
Paperback - 978-1-951142-51-3
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