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Miranda C Heller Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Paper Palace (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Miranda Cowley Heller
Miranda Cowley Heller was raised in New York. After she graduated from Harvard she became a book editor at Cosmopolitan, before working for ten years as Head of Drama Series at HBO. At HBO, she worked on some legendary shows such as Deadwood, The Sopranos, The Wire, and Six Feet Under.

What she took from her time working at HBO is how to write real dialogue. People don’t tend to lead one another in conversation, they typically repeat each other. It is everything that goes unsaid, the spaces in between that are very cool. And, obviously, she visualizes everything filmically and thinks very visually as though she is watching a film in her mind.

At one point in her life, she started working on three or four different novels, and then put them in a drawer. “The Paper Palace” was one of them. Six years before publishing it, she took it out so it took her a long time to write it. She isn’t one of those ass in chair writers. Sometimes she will write all day every day, but there are stretches that weeks will go by and nothing.

She took the novel out of the drawer because she was unsure of what to do, and one of her best friends said that as long as they had known Miranda she had been talking about these novels that Miranda started but never finished. So why doesn’t Miranda just give one a go that same year, and if things don’t work out, then fine.

She finds that growing up in a literary family to be entirely inhibiting. She remembers her dad, who is a book editor, yelling at her when she was ten years old about this term paper she’d written. He would say to her to cut a lot of stuff. Since there are so many writers that are successful in her family, she figured if she can’t do it well, she isn’t going to try.

Miranda put a lot of pressure on herself, however what broke the dam at last was writing so much poetry. It changed it all for her. She was suddenly writing from a much dreamier place, figuring out what was buried underneath rather than purposefully digging for it. This is why she never thinks in advance, she will just close her eyes and allow the page to do it for her.

At one point, Miranda attempted writing the ‘great American novel’ and just couldn’t. It took her a long time to truly figure out what her problem was. It was not just being worried about everyone else’s expectations, rather she had to access a whole other part of her brain. Miranda was always very controlled while she was writing. She’d write a lot but none of it had her voice.

Sex scenes never scared her since, when she was little, her cousin (who is now a literary editor) and she would write pornographic stories and poetry with each other. They were incredibly dirty and psycho. Writing iambic pentameters about erect knights as well as writing about gang rapes.

Cape Cod is her place, and since she comes from a broken family, it was the only place that ever felt like terra firma for her when she was a child. The seventies were, in an odd way, a rather dark time for children, since their parents (at least as Miranda experienced it) were so wildly out of control. Joining ashrams, naked all over the place, having key parties or whatever.

While at the Cape, they’d run around barefoot, swim in the ocean. Each time she returns, it feels like the exact opposite of homesickness, and she’ll just slot into herself, and suddenly is inhabiting her own body.

Miranda’s debut novel, called “The Paper Palace”, was released in the year 2021 by Riverhead Books after a nine way auction. Her work is from the literary fiction genre.

“The Paper Palace” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2021. It is a perfect morning in July, and Elle, who is a fifty year old happily married mom of three, wakes up at “The Paper Palace”, the family summer place that she’s visited every single summer of her life. However this morning is different: last night she and Jonas (her oldest friend) snuck out the back door into the dark and had sex with one another for the first time, as their spouses just talked inside.

Elle, over the next twenty-four hours, must decide between the life that she has made with Peter (her sincerely beloved husband) and the life she always imagined that she would have had with Jonas (her childhood love) if a tragic event hadn’t forever altered the course of their lives.

While Miranda colors in all the experiences which have led Elle to this day, and to this decision, we arrive at her ultimate choice with all of its complexity. Devastating yet tender, this novel considers the legacies of abuses, the tensions between dignity and desire, and the misdemeanors and crimes of families.

This is a novel sure to make you feel so many different emotions; you will laugh, gasp, and feel enraged and there are such beautiful descriptions of the sea and land. Miranda, with sensuous and rich prose, cracks the human heart open wide and exposes all of her character’s decisions: the paths not taken and the devastating consequences for them.

Miranda does a fantastic job of intertwining the past story with modern happenings and a main story that takes place over the course of a single day and divided into five segments.

Set in psychic and physical landscape that is Cape Cod, “The Paper Palace” is a fever dream, luminous with love and is shot through with heartbreak and humor. She takes you there, allowing you to smell the backwoods and all the old cabins, you feel the pond water lapping around your ankles, and experiencing the loss and love of family. It is a powerful and perceptive tale that is sure to stick with you long after you have finished reading.

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One Response to “Miranda C Heller”

  1. Jessie Morgan: 1 month ago

    Hey Miranda.
    I just finished your book and loved it. I spent summers (1950’s-1970) in Nantucket and those ponds reminded me of being there!
    Your characters are great as are your descriptions. I did find it a bit hard going back and forth between time periods.
    So, did she go to her first love, (as there was no previous mention of her taking her ring off before swimming!)? To be continued?

    Reply

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