Ben Miller | Regulator Bookshop | Page: Readings & Signings | Indy Week
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Ben Miller 

When: Mon., April 15, 7 p.m. 2013
Price: free

Ben Miller's debut memoir is called River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll Amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa, and this complex, oddly structured title gives a good indication of the idiosyncratic, micro-observational style of prose found within. It's the kind of book where an offhand mention of a dead pet cat tells us not only that the cat died in a "Famous Footwear shoe box" but also that the author buried it in a hole he dug with a gravy spoon. Miller, who lives in New York, dives deep into the thicket of memory, summoning a lost world through unorthodox description and often obsessive detail. Nothing escapes his gaze, whether he's recounting the kiss of his inappropriately affectionate mother (it tasted of "coffee and midnight"), his physically damaged father, the various eccentrics in his bleak Midwestern burg, or the members of the writing group that saved him from despair. As a young teen, Miller learns he has "come down with the language contagion," and in that knowledge, he finds a way out of the crushing weirdness of his small-town existence. —David Klein

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