As a little tip-of-the-hat to KD Miller, who will be appearing at Biblioasis Anniversary events this week in Toronto, Waterloo (TODAY!), and Windsor (Tomorrow!), I thought I'd post the review of All Saints that ran in Publishers Weekly in July. If you're still on the fence about coming to see her, I say (with all due politesse): hop the hell off! She's one of SIX amazing readers—and seriously, she's really really good—who will be appearing at the Jazz Club and at the Capitol Theatre. Come on out!
In this collection of linked short stories, Miller (Brown Dwarf) writes about the lives of the parishioners and affiliates of All Saints Anglican Church in Toronto. Each story focuses on a different character. Simon, the church's rector, appears in many of the stories and is the focus of one that explores his relationship with his suicidal wife and his feelings for someone new. Other standout characters include Emily, a writer; Owen, an outsider who first appears as a background character and later as the main one; and Garth, equal parts real (in the fictional world of the book) and imagined (in Emily's literary imagination). Miller, who has previously published collections of essays, short stories and a novel, has an ease of style that produces elegant turns of phrase. Describing one church member's hesitations towards religious modernization Miller writes, "She prefers her religion distant and monumental." The overlapping narratives weave the stories and recurring themes together. Love, faith, marriage, sex, death, aging, mental illness and the meaning of community are all explored with dignity.