Cover Image: Total

Total

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I finished this collection a couple of days ago, and unfortunately I can’t say that there is much of it that stayed with me. I liked the writing a lot. Actually, I liked all of the stories—but the only one I still remember now is the title story, “Total.” And even that one, I remember it felt a little out of place in the collection, since it was the only piece of speculative fiction. There were also a couple of questionable choices with regards to race.

I’m glad I gave this collection a try, and I’m curious to read more from this author—it could just be this book in particular that didn’t work for me.
Was this review helpful?
A return to short stories from the author of “Personal Velocity,” “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee,” and more, the seven stories in this collection touch on family, intimacy, and relationships. Included in Apartment Therapy's July "New Books" Roundup.
Was this review helpful?
I was rather lukewarm on Rebecca Miller's TOTAL until the titular short story which is a knockout. So much so, that I would be keen to read an expanded version of the story. The other standout is "The Chekhovians", which depicts two families and shows Miller's excellent ability for characterisation. However it's worth reading for "Total" alone, which is heartbreaking and has stayed with me for days after reading. The less you know about it, the better.

Thanks to NetGalley, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, and Rebecca Miller for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a solid collection of mildly unsettling short stories. Though the tonal shift between some of the stories occasionally felt a bit jarring (and not in a way which felt intentional), overall these stories were engaging with a cast of interesting characters and settings which had real depth. The writing in this collection is beautiful and I will definitely be reading other works by this author!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for letting me read an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A delicious collection I tore through in a single sitting. These are well-crafted, engrossing stories that mostly center on familial intimacies -- Miller is incredible at rendering these types of relationships that are at once prickly and loving. Looking forward to whatever she does next.

Thanks so much to the publisher for the e-galley!
Was this review helpful?
An engaging and unique collection of short stories. The strongest is the title story, "Total," a story about family ties, and regret tied up in a very well-executed speculative fiction framework. Second to this, my favorites were "The Chekhovians" and "Receipts." The stories center around fraught relationships, in general, some of them romantic, some of them familial (some neither, like the first story, "Mrs. Covet"). There's an atmosphere common to most of the stories here of floating, almost dissociatively, and a recurrent theme of life interrupted. I'd recommend to fans of Mary Gaitskill and Miranda July. Some of these stories have been haunting me for a while after finishing, now, especially "Total" and "The Chekhovians." I plan to re-read sometime in the future because I think there's a lot of food for thought in the way Miller manages information, i.e. what we know about the characters and what we don't, and I have the sense that there's a world teeming with possibility between the lines, ripe for interpretation.
Was this review helpful?
Rebecca Miller is one of my go-tos.  In the past, her fiction as well as her films have proved provocative and involving, and here, she continues that streak.  These seven stories all hold interest, and according to the musings of one of the characters, "What a weird thing reading is."  As I've said before, a well written volume of short stories can be more involving and challenging than a novel of equal length since it requires more effort on the part of the reader, but whoever picks up this book will be rewarded, happy they did so.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book, it's a collection of seven short stories and yet the author has managed to create fun, complex characters and I found myself more than once hoping that there was more to the story. My favorite ones were about a woman who runs into her ex-boyfriend in the street and narrates the events leading up to where she is now, a writer who has lost inspiration and finds it in an unexpected manner,  the more sci-fi one with families having children (Totals) with deformities after using a Total phone which could unite people's mind and finally the story of 2 neighbouring families in Martha's vineyard and the different trajectories their lives have taken.

All of the stories were fun to read though, and I found that the author did a very good jon in conveying the emotions and reasonings of the protagonists of each story. I definately recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley and FSG for the ebook. This is a fun book of seven short stories. My favorites were a study of two families living in old houses on Martha’s Vineyard, as one family’s fortunes steady rise while the other’s crumble, an aging novelist desperate to find a new story gets snared in an unlikely adventure, a woman randomly meets an abusive old boyfriend on the street and replays in her mind other former partners to see how she got where she is right now. A smart book with rich characters you’d follow in stories twice their length.
Was this review helpful?