Lee Miller, Grey: A Life Unraveled, 2016
Lee Miller’s debut novel explores the life of a young woman, Sara, who is left as the sole survivor after a horrific incident in her home which left her husband, Chris, and Chris’s assailant, Tommie, both dead. Sara has her friend Beth move in with her as they try their best to return some form of normality in their lives. Throughout the next year Sara has many episodes where she images seeing things that aren’t there or is told that she’s done something which she has no recollection of (an early instance of this was when she slept through an entire day yet Beth and her mother-in-law informed her that she had awoken the previous day as normal).
Miller’s storytelling throughout the novel is well paced and keeps the right amount of intrigue throughout as the mysterious grey clouds remain hovering over the city. Suspecting her blackouts and visions as a result of dealing with the after-effects of her husband’s death is too easy a reason so we are left wondering throughout the novel what is causing this. Her friendship with Beth is also refreshing as they are presented as two ultimate best friends with no betrayal or arguments occurring. This, along with her close relationship with her mother-in-law (a closeness she didn’t really have with her parents), keep the feel-good factor alive in spite of everything that has occurred.
Where Miller’s novel falls short, however, is within the writing style. Miller chooses to have full conversations embedded within lengthy paragraphs, which leads to some confusion on multiple instances where it is a bit unclear as to who exactly is talking. Another niggling occurrence is that of spelling and grammatical errors, which, although easily removed, can affect the reading. These two faults intertwined when a missed closing speech mark failed to alert me when one character had finished, and, with the lengthy paragraphs all grouping it together, I had to re-read sentences anew with the narrator in mind rather than a character.
Despite these errors, which are easily fixed with a thorough editing, the novel is a fun little read with an interesting twist at the end. It keeps you second guessing what exactly the titular ‘grey’ is, and why she has visions and episodes, with an intriguing revelation at the end to explain it all. Should it be revisited with an effective revision mixed with his innate storytelling and eye for detail, its final overall grade can easily go up.
Final verdict: An interesting novel; but in need of a revised edition.