Miller’s debut essay collection, A Greater Monster, follows his insightful perspectives on various facets of life as he paints a portrait of the man he has grown to become.
In this remarkable, quietly piercing book-length rumination, Adam Miller demonstrates all the necessary assets of a first-rate personal essayist: an elegant prose style, acute observational powers, humanity, curiosity, erudition, humor, modesty and honesty. Whether he is writing about Bach, Bruce Chatwin, the shenanigans of his students, the marketing of classical music, his down-and-out biological painter-father and his worldly, successful stepfather, a collapsing marriage, a lame party of academics, his aching love for his children, or simply the signs he sees in passing on the road, he finds a way to engage us utterly. He is extraordinarily good company, and a good man (claims of monstrosity aside). Highly recommended for anyone who values literary intelligence and the twisty-turning adventures of an unfolding consciousness.
Adam Patric Miller is an essayist who pays attention to the world around him, and we follow his gaze. He’s particularly adept at gathering a bit of this and a bit of that art; music; teaching; family stories of illness, of fathers, of divorce until they finally add up to something vital and unforgettable. With an astute ear for the music language can make on the page, and with the writer’s need to consider his obsessions, Miller covertly creates a portrait of the man he’s become on the other side of all he’s survived. A Greater Monster is a fine debut from an essayist who deserves our attention and our acclaim.
Adam Patric Miller’s essays have a high-voltage electricity. They range widely from the battleground of inner-city schools, the trenches of Iwo Jima and gripping autobiography to profound reflections on art, literature, spirituality, PTSD, Jewishness, the complicated dynamic of fathers and sons and, of course, music, including a stunning essay on Glenn Gould. As a former professional violinist, he knows the value of contrapuntal structure, themes and sub-themes resurfacing in individual pieces and throughout the book; and yet, there’s an intimacy and personal edge to his work that defies and survives his technical virtuosity. A stunning debut.