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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
Miller's 'ingenious' novels
Miller's latest novel cover
Miller's previous novels have reaped many successes
Andrew Miller, whose novel Oxygen has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, has already gained fame as a writer, winning both prizes and film deals.

His first Novel, Ingenious Pain, was published in 1997 and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, the Impac Dublin Literary Award - the world's richest literary prize - and the Grinzane Cavour Prize in Italy.

The Impac jury described Miller's book as "a virtuoso tale", choosing it over fellow Booker shortlist author Ian McEwan, and best-seller Don DeLillo.

It told the story of James Dyer, a brilliant surgeon who was unable to feel pain, whether physical or emotional.

Miller
Miller: Beat Ian McEwan to the Impac prize
His second novel, Casanova in Love, published a year later, was also set in the 18th Century, and wowed the literary world. Both books are being adapted for film.

Casanova fascinated the late author Lorna Sage, who wrote in the New York Times: "Life rolled off the real Casanova like water off a duck's back.

"Miller's Casanova, ingeniously translated to our own fin de siecle, is a New Age narcissist - so observant, so chastened, that self-love can save him after all."

But Miller decided to leave the past behind in Oxygen, set during the summer of 1997.

His lead character Alec Valentine returns to his childhood home in the West Country to care for his dying mother, Alice.

Liberation

Each character in the book, including Alec's brother, Larry, whose marriage and acting career are declining, and Laszlo Lazar, a Hungarian exile and playwright, whose play Alec is translating, must face a challenge.

Miller then guides them through an act of liberation - though not necessarily the one foreseen.

The 41-year-old author was born in Bristol and has lived in Spain, Japan, Ireland and France, before settling in London.

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