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Inez Hollander Fiction


by Inez Hollander

I didn’t want to ask for money in a letter to our son.  I told Heinrich at the time that Henry certainly shouldn’t deprive himself. Maybe some cigarette money for Heinrich, if he could spare it. We knew Henry had enough troubles, living out of a suitcase in Paris, and sleeping on park benches. 

I opposed the letter Heinrich wrote. We are a proud people and don’t like to ask for help. Asking for money is what panhandlers do, and begging is beneath us. It is not dignified. It is not how I was raised.

But Henry, bless his heart, would always write back, even though we hadn’t seen or heard from him in years. Poor Lauretta sometimes asked if her brother had died in France. Maybe Heinrich feared that too. He was always eager to hear from Henry, and maybe more so since he had fallen ill. Henry was our only son, you see, and for a long time, he had been the only hope to inherit the tailor business which my father had started after he learned the business in London, from the best— only the best! 

As a boy of six or seven I used to sit at my grandfather’s workbench and read to him while he sewed. I remember him vividly in those moments when, pressing the hot iron against the seam of a coat, he would stand with one hand over the other and look out of the window dreamily […] I remember the expression on his face, as he stood there dreaming, better than the contents of the books I read, better than the conversations we had or the games I played in the streets. 
~ Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn (1939)

When it became my turn to write something, I told Henry how the cherry tree, lilac and apple tree were blossoming. Some years we just had enough apples to make a pie. I guess Nature sometimes falls on hard times, too. America, that land of plenty that relatives were writing about to us in Die Heimat was not something we had felt in recent years, but then my family didn’t come here for the plenty. Germany was wrapped up in endless wars. America became the escape hatch for both our families, to make sure our men didn’t turn into cannon fodder. 

The three grandfathers and the two great-grandfathers are huddled near the stove talking about the Franco-Prussian war. 
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

I sometimes wonder whether we were punished for our dereliction of duty. Prussians, my family, we like to show up and do the job, no questions asked. I’ve always taken orders— that’s how I was raised. Once I had a wart on my finger and it was unsightly, and I asked Henry what to do with it. “Just cut it off!” He said, and I did what I was told, as I always do. Blood everywhere— even on the nice dishes, covered in blood, and then Blutvergiftung. And Henry thought it all hilarious.

Two days later, [Louise] shook her bandaged finger at him shouting: “And you told me to do this?!” Then she slapped him repeatedly. Miller never forgot this bewildering and nightmarish experience.
~ Mary Dearborn, The Happiest Man Alive, A Biography of Henry Miller  (1991)

But to make a long story short as they say here, I never had any problems with following orders and discipline and doing what you have to do, so if I had been a man, I would have enlisted, even if it meant fighting the country where I was born. We were all Americans now. How I suffered when Henry was living with us again— the Great War was in its second or third year and all Henry did was lie in bed till noon. No job to go to, just lolling about. One morning it got me so mad that I filled a bucket of cold water and doused him with it. “You either enlist, or get a job!”  

And what did he do?  

He got married to Beatrice to stay out of the war. Call me superstitious, but all this draft dodging has weakened our family. We escaped the war and arrived in America alright, but we could not flee our past or cancer, craziness or the clap. Maybe we were cursed, paying for the sins of our ancestors.

It always seemed astounding to me how jolly they were in our family despite the calamities that were always threatening. Jolly in spite of everything. There was cancer, dropsy, cirrhosis of the liver, insanity, thievery, mendacity, buggery, incest, paralysis, tape-worms, abortions, triplets, idiots, drunkards, ne’er-do-wells, fanatics, sailors, tailors, watch-makers, scarlet fever, whooping cough, meningitis, running ears, chorea, stutterers, jail-birds, dreamers, story-tellers, bartenders… 
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

When Henry wrote that long letter from Paris after Heinrich asked him for money, I was a trifle offended by his mention of madness and epilepsy in his letter, but it’s true, it has been rampant in my family. I grew up around it and I, as one of the sane ones, had to keep up appearances while taking care of my mother, and sisters (and Lauretta!) the best I could.  

It taught me discipline. And making do. And not asking too much of others. And staying strong. I have always tried to stay away from emotion— it stirred up too many things, so I learned to be quiet inside and out. It’s better not to ask too many questions or demand too many things. Heinrich was different. He was the talker, and even more so with a little Schnapps. I only talked when necessary. It baffled me how Henry could be such a scribbler. So many words. How did he know so many? If only words could sell like tailored suits or pretty bonnets.  

… this flow and rush of words, this wild, mad, fantastic talk that swelled and grew and gathered momentum—a stream, a torrent, a flood. 
~ Michael Fraenkel, on Miller’s echolalia in “The Genesis of the Tropic of Cancer”, The Happy Rock (1945)

Henry was such a bright little boy, but when he quit his job and wouldn’t want to help take over the tailor business, I thought he had gone mad! I tried to convince him that he needed to help Vati, or rather keep an eye on Vati.

A joint corporation of father and son, with mother holding the boodle.
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

The tailoring business wasn’t doing so swell and instead of cutting cloth or waiting for the first customer, Heinrich would grab his hat and left! Gone for his 10 AM drink. I told Henry to keep an eye on him and prayed our son might warm to the business. My father was a fine tailor, and every man should learn a trade to pay the bills and feed the mouths at home. 

In the past every member of our family did something with his hands. I’m the first idle son of a bitch with a glib tongue and a bad heart. 
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

But alas, I’m not sure Henry learned anything. It was beneath him to serve others or maybe his heart wasn’t in it. It made me anxious, if not terrified. 

She got us so damned jumpy with her anxiety that we would choke on our own spittle. 
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

I would nag every day and ask how the shop was faring, but Henry would clam up. I knew his head was drowning in words. Words, words, words, and maybe not the words I wanted to hear. Maybe he merely tried to spare us both. No, I never cared for a single book he wrote… Anyway, with the way he went on about some of the customers, I should probably have been relieved that he never took over the shop: He would have run it into the ground!

They were ticklish bastards, all these old farts we catered to. It was enough to drive any man to drink. 
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

Once or twice he grumbled something about who had died, which meant business and black cloth and maybe paying one of the outstanding bills, but the customers were not his thing. I always wanted to know who had died, but even that he wouldn’t disclose. Or when I bothered him long enough, he’d blurt out silliness like: “the dead guy was a bartender who picked his nose with a rusty nail—hail and hearty one day, dead the next!” Imagine that! Picking your nose with a rusty nail! Henry didn’t care about the business or learning something new! He would rather hang out with Ferd Pattee in the back of the shop whose only joy in life was… cheese! 

He was passionate about schmierkäse and Limburger especially— the moldier the better. In between the cheeses he told stories about Heine and Schubert, or he would ask for a match just as he was about to break wind and hold it under his seat so that we could tell the color of the flame. 
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

It was a world of men. Women ruled the roost at home, but all I had was Lauretta. Heinrich was surrounded by men. Clients, friends, and anyone he’d meet when drinking. Henry may have been introduced to Heinrich’s many “friends”, but ach, es tut mir leid, it did ja nichts, gar nichts for his professional life or future. 

The men my father loved were weak and lovable […] No shred of them remained—nothing but the memory of their blaze and glory. They flow now inside of me like a vast river choked with falling stars. 
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

I never could get a grip on Henry, or Heinrich for that matter. And because of it, I felt so alone. The two men in my life were missing in action, and I could complain all I wanted. Nothing ever changed.

In those days, women were barely more than workhorses. Unfortunately, my mother didn’t have any alternative. It was just her luck that she got stuck with a son who hated to work.
~ Henry Miller, “My German Heritage”, Reflections (1981)

Who knows, maybe I made it worse. I had hit a wall with them. They were out of reach and untouchable. As if they were as good as dead, or crazy, and locked away like my poor sister. 

These days, we might say that Miller’s dad suffered from a “burnout”. His temperament, however, might have been close to Henry’s in that both father and son simply “dropped out”. For Miller senior this turned into an intense relationship with the bottle but for the son it was more like a rebellion of the heart, that is, a dropping out in favor of a life of the arts and senses. The dad was a dipso, the son, an Epicurean.  
~ Inez Hollander 

Henry was such a daydreamer. Coming home from the tailor shop, he was in a world all his own, and I couldn’t reach him. It worried me. When you’re in your head so much, you go mad, and I had had enough madness in my life! Henry once told me that we were all mad because of incest and inbreeding but I highly doubt it… although when I hear people talking about his books, I wonder how much madness there is in his writing.  

Each morning I write a new book, walking from the Delancey Street station north towards the Waldorf. On the fly-leaf of each book is written in vitriol: The Island of Incest. Every morning it starts with the drunken vomit of the night before it makes a huge gardenia which I wear in the buttonhole of my lapel, the lapel of my double-breasted suit which is lined with silk throughout. I arrive at the tailor shop with the black breath of melancholy, perhaps to find Tom Jordan in the busheling room waiting to have the spots removed from his fly. 
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

Madness. A living death, that’s what that is. When we travel inward, we meet our own demons and if we listen too much to those, we go moldy and mad in the head. Better ignore those voices. It’s not reality. The imagination can be a gateway to hell. I know that for a fact. I have seen it in my family. Far too much of it. So all I do is stay the course and not dwell on things too much. For sanity’s sake. For the family’s sake.

I am the very essence of that proud, boastful Nordic people who have never had the least sense of adventure but who nevertheless have scoured the earth, turned it upside down, scattering relics and ruins everywhere. Restless spirits, but not adventurous ones. Agonizing spirits, incapable of living in the present. Disgraceful cowards, all of them, myself included. For there is only one great adventure and that is inward toward the self, and for that no time nor space nor even deeds matter. 
~ Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn (1939)

Henry’s favorite aunt was Emilie, so I remember writing Henry in Paris about how I would pay her a visit, bringing cake, fruit and homemade boiled ham. The poor soul loved to eat. She looked healthy but then she didn’t have a care in the world. They have regular hours to eat and sleep, but still it is a living death. I was always glad when visiting day was over.  

When Henry was still living with us, she loved gazing (and barking!) at the moon. She was queer even as a child… Then, one day, she was sitting on the stove. The stove was lit but her skirt had not caught fire… yet! Something had to be done. She could light the house on fire and kill everyone in it.

She was fond of Henry and since he had no job to go to, we told him to take her on the trolley and the train and to the country where the home was. When Henry accompanied her, he said she was quiet. She asked about the moon and whether he had brought any liverwurst. He said she seemed to trust him. He said she was half-witted but to him she was a saint. He was upset when he came back. In fact, he was in a state. 

Walking down the gravel path towards the big gates Mele becomes uneasy. Even a puppy knows when it is being carried to a pond to be drowned. Mele is trembling now. At the gate they are waiting for us. The gate yawns. Mele is on the inside, I am on the outside. […] Two great, round eyes, full and black as the night, staring at me uncomprehendingly. No maniac can look that way. No idiot can look that way. Only an angel and a saint. 
~ Henry Miller, “The Tailor Shop”, Black Spring (1936)

Henry said she must have remembered what he called the “bug house”. He remembered it from when we used to visit mother on Blackwell Island. Henry was a grown man, but I could tell he had been crying. He scolded me. Why couldn’t they just let her be? Have her sit by the fire and dream the day away? Why, he said, must everybody work— even the saints and angels? I had nothing to say. She might have set the house on fire— that’s all I know. But Henry was a romantic— that was his German blood. And yet, his words did linger, which is why, I think, we never moved Lauretta into a home.  

In the end, things didn’t work out for Henry at the tailor shop. He was just… too different and contrarian. 

I had need of nobody because I wanted to be free, free to do and to give only as my whims dictated. The moment anything was expected of me or demanded of me I balked. 
~ Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn (1939) 

He had always been like that. When I told him to walk, he ran and when I told him to sit, he’d dance. When I told him to pursue Cora, he pursued a widow twice his age, and when he suggested marrying her, I’d had enough of his rebellious ways. I was rummaging through the knives’ drawer, and for a moment I think he thought I would bring out a knife and threaten him, but all I did was slam the drawer shut and wag my finger in his face. I told him he was not going to throw his life away for a woman who might be barren and exploiting him. For once, he may have listened. 

Usually, it was the other way around. After all, I didn’t want him to write, so he became fixated on being a writer, verdammt nochmal. On Emilie’s old sewing table, he wrote, in the front parlor. Even after I asked him to sit away from the window. When the doorbell rang or visitors were expected, I’d rush in and Henry fled into the closet. I just didn’t want to answer any questions. Scribbling was not respectable enough. Artists can’t pay the bills. Having to answer questions about Lauretta was hard enough. Heinrich disagreed. Told me I censored the boy. I didn’t even know what that word meant until I looked it up. I merely put him inside the closet. The closet of American literature, Henry sneered once. 

I would stand in the dark, choking with the stink of camphor balls until the neighbor took leave. Small wonder that I always associated my activity with that of a criminal. 
~ Henry Miller, “Reunion in Brooklyn”, Sunday After the War (1944)

I wanted Henry to succeed but all that scribbling business was poppycock and fiddle sticks. When you have two children and your youngest can’t even finish school, you need all the help you can get to provide for the family. I had hoped Henry could be there for us, but I fear I drove him away. He was such a good boy. And such a bright child. What a waste of talent! Yes, we had plenty of fights. I nagged and scolded, but he was slippery as an eel. He did whatever he wanted. And that was that. He was out of my hands.  

Mothers can be fatal to their sons […] She that gives life also blocks the way to freedom. 
~ Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae (1990)

My mother was the Northern type, cold, critical, proud, unforgiving and puritanical […] It was against her, against all that she represented that I directed my uncontrollable energy. Never until I was fifty did I once think of her with affection […] I felt her shadow across my path constantly. It was a shadow of disapproval, silent and insidious like a poison injected into my veins. 
~ Henry Miller, The Time of the Assassins: A Study of Rimbaud (1946)

Haunted. Maybe that’s too strong a word, but I felt haunted by Henry’s lack of success. Not as a writer but as a man who can feed his family. That came first, though clearly not for him. It went from annoyance to aggravation. And I started to badger him. 

She belittled me constantly. Any effort I made was never good enough. She tried to scold and shame me into respectability.  
~ Henry Miller, “My Mother”, Reflections (1981)

It breaks my heart. I know I pushed him away, but maybe I also, eventually, pushed him to write. 

When finally I found the courage to write what I’d been storing up for years, it came pouring out into one long relentless tirade. Beginning with the earliest memories of my mother, I had saved up enough hatred, enough anger, to fill a hundred books.  
~ Henry Miller, “My Mother”, Reflections (1981)

No! Didn’t I say so earlier?! I never read anything he wrote. I had a feeling it wasn’t meant for my eyes. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be known as the mother of Henry Miller, the author. And when his books couldn’t be published here, I knew it was because he wrote scandalous, daffy things. That’s his contrarian side, you see? We rage because we want to rebel. 

It was only natural that I should become a rebel, an outlaw, a desperado. I blame my parents, I blame society, I blame God. I accuse. I go through life with finger lifted accusingly. I have the prophetic itch. I curse and blaspheme. I tell the bitter truth. 
~ Henry Miller, “Uterine Hunger”, The Wisdom of the Heart (1941)

I love all those men who are called rebels and failures. I love them because they are so human, so ‘human-all-too-human.’”
~ Henry Miller, The Time of the Assassins: A Study of Rimbaud  (1946)

 And maybe he was still rebelling against me, writing those dirty books. I did my best I could to be pleasant and civil. But I knew he had rejected me. When I heard his first novel was called Clipped Wings, I had the uneasy feeling that he was trying to tell me that I had clipped his wings. But apparently it was a book about messengers, and his first real job. He lost that manuscript. He lost so many things. His common sense is one thing. And maybe he lost me as well, or rather we were both lost to each other.  

The mother from whose loins I sprang was a complete stranger to me. 
~ Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn (1939) 

It was not for lack of trying. I loved him dearly even though I could never utter those words. It was simply not done in my family.  

His mother was wearing a fur muff and he never forgot the pleasure of slipping his cold hands into the warm fur. From his talk I would guess that was the only kind of warmth his mother could give him, against snow and cold, animal fur and no human warmth. 
~ Anaïs Nin, January 1935, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2: 1934-1935 (1967)

I loved him and just didn’t accept his life choices. Although June, his second wife, had something to say about that, which shook me profoundly. During a Christmas dinner, when I, once again, inquired about money and jobs and making something of yourself, she said: “If you don’t accept him as a writer, you’ll never have him as a son.”  

June was drunk. But sometimes drunks tell the truth. I knew that from Heinrich. He sometimes made more sense when he was drunk than when he was sober. So maybe I drove Henry away, and drove him abroad. Who can say? For years and years, he was gone.

It has been found that phantasies [sic] of exploring the mother’s body, which arise out of the child’s aggressive sexual desires, greed, curiosity and love, contribute to the man’s interest in exploring new countries […] In the explorer’s unconscious mind, a new territory stands for a new mother. He is seeking the “promised land”, the “land flowing with milk and honey.” 
~ Melanie Klein, Love, Guilt and Reparation & Other Works, 1921-1945 (1975)

When he finally did come home, it was such a happy family reunion! To see him walk through the door! He was late but for days we had been anticipating his arrival. We had hung up new drapes and made lunch, Lauretta and I, and when he stepped into the hallway, full of life, and stories of Paris and Greece, I had to excuse myself and wipe away some tears in the kitchen. It was like, like the…verlorene Sohn. I wanted to hug him, and kiss him and hold him but did none of the above. When it came time to go, I rushed toward him, wanting to put my arms around him but something in him made me recoil. Stepping back, I focused on his sleeve instead. I held him back momentarily and picked at a loose thread that was sitting there.  

The climax came when, just as I was about to slip into my overcoat, my mother in a tearful voice came rushing up to me and holding me by the arm, said: “Oh Henry, there’s a thread on your coat!” A thread, by Jesus! That was the sort of thing she would give attention to! The way she uttered the word thread was as if she had spied a leprous hand sticking out of my coat pocket. All her tenderness came out in removing that little white thread from my sleeve. Incredible—and disgusting! 
~ Henry Miller, “Reunion in Brooklyn”, Sunday After the War (1944)

When Heinrich died, Henry arrived too late. To allay his feelings of guilt, I told him that Heinrich had told the nurses about his “wonderful son,” which moved Henry to tears. Or so I think. Unlike me, he cried easily. When he kissed Heinrich in the coffin, he most certainly wept. I did not, as I think one should only weep in private. One puts an unnecessary burden on others when they see you cry. People don’t know what to do with tears or grief.  

With Heinrich gone, the house became very quiet and solemn. Lauretta started looking after me when I felt more and more fatigued. I couldn’t even finish my letters to Henry.  

Dear Henry, thank you for the gift. Mother is fine. I am taking good care of her. 
~ Lauretta Miller, in a 1944 letter, Henry Miller Collection, UCLA

In 1945, Emilie died. Annie and Mary rushed to her bedside for a last embrace. She had been living in that asylum for more than thirty years. It surely was a mixed blessing, her death.  

Henry and I lost touch again. A letter here, a letter there, an occasional check, even though I told him not to, for now he had two children of his own in a house overlooking the Pacific. After the hullabaloo of Paris, I thought he might get bored there but he seemed very content. Maybe he was finally growing up, being an actual father… the father he hadn’t been to Barbara, the daughter he had with Beatrice, his first wife.  

And then, one day, the doorbell rang, and imagine what? Lepska, Henry’s third wife, and the kids filled up the house with blondness, gaiety and joy. Two little angels… and Tony looked so much like Henry when he was that age! Lauretta and I were over the moon. I wanted to buy them gifts but being too ill, I couldn’t make it to the store. Lepska made pictures of the visit and when I received them in the mail, I showed them off to whoever wanted to see them.  

In those years, we also had an unexpected visit of a man by the name of Alfred Perlès, who had lived with Henry in Paris. He told me all about what a great writer Henry had become. I told him that Henry had always been a good boy. Maybe that was a strange thing to say. Maybe it implied that he was a good boy but not a good man but what I meant is that I saw his promise to be a good man when he was a little boy. For a moment, a tear welled up in my eye, and not wanting to show my emotions, I turned away and coughed. Mr. Perlès may have noticed it and may have even told Henry about it. I wish that would have been the last of it.  

When I became really ill with cancer of the liver and could no longer take care of myself or have Lauretta look after me, Henry came to care for me and although there were things I wanted to say to him, all that came out was past recriminations. I failed him and I failed myself.  

And now it is too late. The end is near as I become weaker every day. I struggle and resist, not because I want to hold onto life, but because I am worried about Lauretta. Henry said he will take care of her but he never took care of Beatrice and Barbara, so how can I trust him? I wish Heinrich were here to reassure me about Henry. And Lauretta. I wish I could unsay some of the things I blurted out when Henry helped me out of the bed this morning. I wish I knew what I know now. I wish… 


Louise Miller died on March 21st, 1956. When our mothers die, part of us, our childhood, a part of our identity, our achievements die with them.  

Yet Henry remained haunted by her presence. He simply could not wash her out of his system. Even in the funeral parlor, Henry claimed, she would have her eye on him: When stooping over her coffin, one of her eyes opened and stared at him. 

Having been born half an hour after midnight on December 26th, 1891, Miller also blamed her controlling, retentive womb for failing to deliver him on Christmas Day. At the same time, Miller couldn’t have blamed it all on Louise’s womb. When describing DH Lawrence, Miller was essentially describing himself: “He was a man struggling to free himself from the womb. He could not get born.”[1]

Undoubtedly, this started his strange fascination with the womb as a source of creation and destruction, attraction and repulsion, life and death… and always the struggle to get born (and reborn). Or in the words of his friend and fellow writer, Michael Fraenkel: “Miller who pries into these orifices, openings, crevices, Miller in the symbolic belly of the whale, is not simply the scatophage or the irresponsible, but Miller the suffering man who has entered ‘the festering’ wound to cleanse it, to be cleansed, to come clean of the past, to be born.”[2] 

His gnarly obsession and fixation with his mother didn’t fade over time. He would go looking for many mothers in the relationships he had with women but he could not finish the unfinished business with his mother.  Until late in life, when people asked him about her, he always mentioned her lack of warmth and love.  

It is striking, in this context, that Miller wrote that his earliest childhood memory was not a memory of his mother, but a remembrance “of the cold, the snow and ice in the gutter, the frost on the window panes, the chill of the sweaty green walls in the kitchen” (Tropic of Capricorn). One could see this as a metaphor, or rather, a metonym of the coldness of his mother. 

In his writing, and real life, he hadn’t been able to fix this relationship but in his dreamworld, which he cultivated and relished, he managed to get to Devachan or what we call Limbo in Catholic theology. In his dream, the first person he meets is his mother and overwhelmed with emotion, all he can say is “Mother, dear Mother.” His mother has undergone a complete transformation. She is everything she wasn’t in real life, i.e. a loving, tolerant and proud parent.  

At the end of the dream, which really feels more like a vision than a dream, his mother fades away to return to Earth. It triggers a panic in him, not unlike like the panic of a little boy who has lost sight of his mom in a busy shopping mall.  

But then he suddenly sees her again, on her way out. She’s waving goodbye: “With that I stood up, my eyes wet with tears, and giving a mighty shout, I cried: ‘Mother, I love you. I love you! Do you hear me?’ I imagined that I saw a faint smile illumine her face and then suddenly she was no more. I was alone, but more alone than I had ever felt on Earth, and I would be alone, perhaps, for centuries or who knows, perhaps through all eternity.”[3] 

Miller had found, and finally lost his mother again four years before he’d die himself. The existential dread that follows makes sense. Mothers allow us to exist but when they don’t or can’t see us and appreciate us as mothers (anymore), we may feel invisible and dead. This dark, black hole is the one Henry tried to fill for most of his life. It explains the sex, it explains the dysfunctional sex, it explains his relationships with and writing about women. He was damaged. But then so was Louise… 
~ Inez Hollander 


Inez Hollander, Ph.D., is a writer and translator. In 1999, she published a biography of the American novelist and journalist Hamilton Basso with Louisiana State University Press, which were followed by two memoirs, Ontwaken uit de Amerikaanse droom (Amsterdam: Archipel, 2004) and Silenced Voices (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2008).

In spite of the long overdue #MeToo movement, Hollander feels that Henry Miller’s work deserves a second hearing. She tries to do this in her new, creative nonfiction manuscript and bio-memoir Crazy Cock.

Following his life and work through the different and most important women in his life, she has channeled the women’s point of view and feelings which are so woefully absent from his autobiographical novels. This puts Miller in a different light, as a man, and an important American writer.

[1] Henry Miller quoted by Michael Fraenkel’s Bastard Death: The Autobiography of an Idea (Paris: Carrefour, 1936) 41-42.

[2] Michael Fraenkel, The Genesis of the Tropic of Cancer”, The Happy Rock, A Book about Henry Miller (Berkeley: Packard Press, 1945) 49.

[3] Henry Miller, “Mother, China, and the World Beyond,” Sextet (1977; New York: New Directions Book) 164.