"Alyce Miller's collection of stories explores the nature of longing, conditioned by absence, loss, disappointment, and difference. Impressive . . . With traditional narrative techniques and lyrical language, The Nature of Longing convincingly presents a variety of complex characters, all of whom yearn for what they lack—and in that lack define their common humanity."
—New York Times Book Review
"This collection of eight short stories won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction this year. It's a perfect selection. Miller crafts her characters with simple strokes that reveal much. It's easy to get so caught up in these people that it comes as a surprise when the stories stop. . . . If you have some experience in living, what happens to them has happened to you, too, in some way. We'll be looking for more of Miller."
"Miller uses everyday detail and dialogue to illustrate the most universal of longings: the worn, slow-dance desire of soul for soul."
"Miller brings psychological depth and a keen sense of moral ambiguity to these finely wrought tales."
"A tough, smart collection of stories."
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
The eight stories in The Nature of Longing move beyond conventional boundaries of race and gender to explore the universal desire to belong. Avoiding easy answers, Alyce Miller probes the overlapping worlds of blacks, whites, gays, and straights, all caught in the ordinary human struggle to connect with parents, spouses, lovers, friends, and children. In the title story, a gay librarian in upstate New York is cruelly outed but finds comfort in the letter of a man he's never met. In "Color Struck," a black mother in East Oakland struggles with her inability to name, and thus to accept, her albino daughter. In "Summer in Detroit," a black man, visiting his ailing white grandmother, is forced to relive a personal tragedy that occurred during the 1967 riots. The novella that closes the book, "Dead Women," examines a young American woman's search in Europe for romance that lasts beyond desire. Miller gives substance to her characters' poignant longing, which manifests itself in unexpected ways.