Episode 242 — Mary Miller


Mary Miller is the guest. Her debut novel, The Last Days of California, is available from Liveright.

Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, raves

Beyond the well-crafted coming-of-age narrative, Miller gets every little detail about the South—from the way the sky greens before a storm to gas stations where Hank Williams Jr.’s ‘Family Tradition’ blares—just right. But it’s Jess’s earnest, searching voice, as she contemplates her parents, the trip, and their values, that lingers after Miller’s story has finished. In Jess, Miller has created a narrator worthy of comparison with those of contemporaries such as Karen Thompson Walker and of greats such as Carson McCullers.

And Alexis Smith says

The Last Days of California is the Sense and Sensibility of pre-Apocalypse America, and Jess and Elise may be my new favorite literary sisters: different as night and day, on a road trip to the Rapture with their Evangelical parents, they find they have nothing to lose but each other. Mary Miller is a ventriloquist of adolescent angst and a nervy surveyor of American culture.

Monologue topics: photos, concretizing the experience for me, where you are, notecards, ventilating my anguish.