WEDNESDAY

Rebecca Miller must have been one hell of a precocious kid. The offspring of two intellectual luminaries—playwright Arthur Miller and photographer Inge Morath—Miller has spent her adult life skipping through seemingly far-flung artistic fields, plucking up accolades in everything from painting to acting to directing, all with the ease and grace of an inveterate overachiever. And yet, somehow, I don’t hate her. Miller’s restless muse has most recently channeled her artistic acumen into the world of fiction writing. Personal Velocity is a series of seven short stories, each of which delves deep into the psyche of a single female character. Miller’s style is bare-bones, yet she imbues her complex characters—such as Nancy, a 9-year-old showing the first signs of mental psychosis, and Delia, a mother of three trying to escape her abusive husband—with verisimilitude and intrigue. The shortcomings of Miller’s fiction rest in the landscapes her characters inhabit, which are often frustratingly nondescript (her one-sentence wrap-up of Arizona: “It was flat red desert as far as you could see”). Miller is much more comfortable and adept at staging narratives in her native New York City, where the people are the landscape. Here she has everyone pegged, such as a group of artists who “lived entirely ironically. They listened to Guns N’ Roses ironically, performing elaborate air guitar sequences that they didn’t really mean.” Hear Miller read at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Olsson’s Books and Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Felix Gillette)

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