Born of a withdrawn mother and an absentee father. Raised in a household of manipulation and hurt. Hearing occasional rumors—of a shovel fight in the front lawn, of a telephone-cord garrote, of violence exacted like the bite of many knives of different sizes—yet knowing nothing, remembering nearly nothing. This is one possible way of describing the early childhood of author Douglas W. Milliken, whose life in writing—from his earliest personal essays to his interwoven short stories to his concise, often brutal novels—has been defined as much by what is missing as what is written. As if the unknowability of his own upbringing set the mold for the perpetual uncertainty central to his fiction.
Yet if you cannot know your origins, how can you possibly know yourself? Collaging memories and research, photographic evidence and interviews both transcribed and reconstructed—soldering together the fragments collected over a lifetime and set against the backdrop of Northern Maine’s austere borderlands—Any Less You is the cumulative struggle of an artist to piece together a fractured whole, a family portrait and a broken mirror, even when what’s revealed might best be left in the dark.
About the Author
Douglas W. Milliken is the author of two novels—To Sleep as Animals and Our Shadows’ Voice—and the collection Blue of the World. He is a founding member of the post-jazz chamber septet The Plaster Cramp, as well as the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and honors from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, Glimmer Train, and RA & Pin Drop Studios, among others. He lives with his family in Saco, Maine.