Total: Stories (Hardcover)

Total: Stories By Rebecca Miller Cover Image
Ask a Bookseller about this title


Rebecca Miller returns to short fiction for the first time since her prodigious collection of stories, Personal Velocity, with the arresting, darkly prescient Total.

From Dublin to Martha’s Vineyard, from the anxious comforts of motherhood to a technologically infected near future that mirrors today with dark prescience, each of the seven stories in Total is a world of its own, painted with vivid strokes, whose people and questions stay with the reader long after the story has ended. Joad, one of the first characters we meet, finds onionskin pages crammed in a locked desk drawer while refurbishing a Hudson Valley farmhouse; the terrifying words on the fragile paper haunt Joad and her husband, the woman who wrote them looming over the couple like a malevolent spirit. Her words embody the power of the act of creation and the insidious, untamable force of language once it has left one’s pen.

The author of The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and Jacob’s Folly, as well as an award-winning filmmaker, Miller has “the soaring eye of the epicist and the sly instinct of the satirist” (The New Yorker), and her talents are on full display in Total. Each voice and life captured in these haunting stories is unforgettable.

About the Author

Rebecca Miller is the author of the novel Jacob’s Folly (FSG, 2013), as well as the short-story collections Total (FSG, 2022) and Personal Velocity. Miller’s feature-film adaptation of Personal Velocity won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Her other films include Angela, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, Maggie’s Plan, and an adaptation of The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.

Praise For…

“Miller is cognizant of the complexity that can still breathe inside familiar stories. She helps us reconsider their elasticity, to see from different angles how they pulse with life . . . You’ve never quite seen them inhabited by these versions of these characters, nor at the tenor of these sentences, with these deftly deployed layers of surprise.” —Lynn Steger Strong, The New York Times Book Review

“Wit and coolly slaying wisdom are constant delights in these emotionally complex stories . . . Miller’s stories read as though they’ve been written by someone who takes immense pleasure in their creation. Line by line, they’re cinematically vivid, and she isn’t afraid to make things happen either . . . What does she want us to know? Perhaps simply that reading should always feel electrifyingly weird.” —Hephzibah Anderson, The Guardian

"Miller’s new collection shows her in many moods and modes, from wistful to comedic to speculative. What a pleasure!" —Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Fresh Complaint

"Slim but powerful . . . Author and filmmaker Miller (Jacob's Folly, 2013) adeptly encapsulates these women's experiences." —Booklist (Starred Review)

"Disarmingly matter-of-fact . . . A beautifully constructed, acutely felt, morally honest collection." —Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"The seven brilliantly knotty and piercingly intimate stories in Total depict characters undone, temporarily or irreparably, by obsessive love." —Dan Sheehan, Lit Hub

"In Miller’s alluring collection (after the novel Jacob’s Folly), protagonists search for connection and pleasure in strange, sometimes destructive ways . . . Miller brings a cinematic eye to her descriptions (a parking garage’s ‘final floor’ offers a ‘vivid sky’) and plenty of drama to the situations. These stories are full of surprises." —Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374299118
ISBN-10: 0374299110
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: July 12th, 2022
Pages: 192
Language: English