Rough passage for Miller’s book
JR’s review of Alex Miller’s The Passage of Love
(October 28-November 3) made me think we’d read different books. The book I read certainly does contain the poignancy, integrity and grace JR thinks are lacking, and it’s disappointing their presence was overlooked in JR’s careless and dismissive reading. The review contains factual errors: Robert Crofts doesn’t meet Martin and Birte “towards the middle of the book” – it is much earlier. And at the time Robert meets them, Lena is not yet his wife. Robert and Martin’s connection endures beyond the gift (not loan, JR) of Doctor Faustus, and themes of friendship and freedom, love and loss, are managed delicately and deftly. JR seems not to notice these, or the significance of the bird motif throughout. The reflective reconciliation of the older self with the younger – the anticipated experience with the actual – means The Passage of Love is a significant literary achievement and warrants more intelligent review.