Born in Oxford, England. Education: Cambridge University, graduated.
Home—Oxford, England. Agent—David Riding, MBA Literary Agency, 62 Grafton Way, London W1T 5DW, England.
Writer. Taylor & Francis, former copy editor; Guardian Unlimited, former subeditor.
Arts Council award; Author's Foundation award.
Wednesday's Child (novel), Virago Press (London, England), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Guardian and Idler.
Eloise Millar's debut novel, Wednesday's Child, "views a working-class family plagued by domestic violence through the gray-tinted glasses of a child who knows no other kind of life," remarked a Kirkus Reviews critic. The novel centers on a transformative summer in the life of nine-year-old Janet Roberts and her dysfunctional, violent family. Her father, Dick Roberts, works at night in an automobile factory, a job he hates. Irritated and affected by lack of sleep, by Wednesday of any given week he is so filled with anger that he abuses his children. For this reason, the novel's title takes on added significance in Janet's fear of Wednesdays. Her eleven-year-old brother, James, seems to catch the brunt of their father's wrath. In the background, Janet's mother, who is slowly wasting away from an illness, does her best to hold the household together; she cleans and scours to keep a pristine house that will never be free of the ugliness within it. With barely enough strength to survive from day to day, she lacks the resolve to leave the brutal tyrant that terrorizes their household. Other relatives also figure into the narrative, including Aunty Net, an alcoholic whose own children were taken from her and placed in foster care. The family matriarch, grandmother Nan, is manipulative and pernicious, always looking for new ways to control her children and grandchildren. On occasion, Janet and James find some respite at Aunty Net's house, or in the fanciful stories that Janet spins in her room at night. However, the bulk of the novel focuses on the perpetual misery suffered by the children and their mother. When a young girl about Janet's age is murdered in the neighborhood, however, the grave danger of their situation begins to become clear, and the necessity for positive action becomes a force they cannot resist. "In this horribly believable account of a damaged childhood, Janet's resilience rescues us from the misery," commented reviewer Rachel Hore in the Guardian.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Guardian (London, England), May 1, 2004, Rachel Hore, "Layers of Narrative," review of Wednesday's Child.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2006, review of Wednesday's Child, p. 868.
Oxford Literary Consultancy Web site,http://www.oxfordwriters.com/ (March 4, 2007), biography of Eloise Millar.