"Jonathan Miller has written an engaging collection of stories ... it is a reminder of the power fiction has to help us better understand ourselves by reading about other people's lives."
– Tom Eblen, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader columnist
"Miller's writing is sharp and accomplished, and he has a good grasp on the emotional nuances that make for realistic characters."
– Carrie Ann Lahain, Las Vegas writer, editor and book reviewer
On Your Own, Jonathan Miller's story collection, follows the kind of people you know, but reveals the thoughts and feelings they might never tell you.
These characters – young brothers, struggling husbands and wives, aging bachelors, restless office workers – maneuver through the worlds of childhood, sports, marriage, alcohol, sex, the workplace, and longing for connection, under Miller's honest gaze. His clean, straightforward writing does not rely on extravagant plots (though significant surprises occur); he finds a quiet richness in events that can and do happen to all of us every day.
Like the sun providing a rare glimpse down the clear water of a well, the clarity of prose in On Your Own allows us to witness people as their deeper realizations become known.
MRS. DUMONT AND THE AROUSED TENANT
Mrs. Dumont entered the dining room and walked around the head of the long table just as her tenant, Woodrow Mourning, crossed at the other end. She nodded good morning then stopped, her mouth agape, as she peered at the young man’s midsection.
Her look also made him stop. She placed her hands on top of a chair and caressed the wood. The man placed his hands, one on top of the other, in front of his privates.
“Woodrow,” Mrs. Dumont chirped. “What is that projecting from your trousers? Is that an erection?”
“Ma’am?” Woodrow said, aghast. “Uh, no, ma’am. These pants, you see, have a wrinkle that …” He tried to smooth the material so that it lay flat, but to no avail.
“Woodrow, don’t you think I know the difference between a wrinkle and an erection?”
“My boy, what is stirring such an arousal? Every time you enter the parlor, I fear you’re going to knock something over.”
“Well, ma’am, it could be the cool breeze that blows in through the window or the smell of your biscuits baking in the oven.”
“Nonsense. Out with it, dear boy. What makes you so excitable? You’re a young man, sure enough, but I don’t see other young men walking about like that.”
“Ma’am, this subject is very embarrassing. I don’t wish to discuss it, if you please.”
“You’re my tenant. Perhaps there’s a problem. I could suggest a doctor, vapor therapy, a lozenge, or perhaps a cold cream.”
“No, ma’am. A doctor won’t be necessary. These things come and go.”
To read more, you can find Jonathan Miller's book On Your Own at Amazon.com.