The Featherbed


When Anna and Sadie discover the diaries of their mother, Rebecca, in the days following her death, they learn that her life was far more complex than either of them knew: a garment worker in early-1900s New York; the reluctant wife in an arranged marriage to an ailing and abusive husband; the improbable friend of a pregnant prostitute.

But the diaries reveal more than just surprising details about Rebecca’s life: they also point to a family secret - and questions about Sadie’s true parentage.

The Featherbed is a gripping family saga that moves between the tenements of New York’s Lower East Side and the stately homes of Toronto’s Annex. Strong in plot, character, setting, and style, it is a fully-realised debut from an assured writer.


"Although disturbing, The Featherbed is a bold first novel and Miller has evoked a credible feminist voice. Having previously written for Fuse and XTRA!, he is a gifted literary craftsman who deserves watching."

Canadian Jewish News (January, 2003)

"This is a strong, well written and researched debut."

Books in Canada (December, 2002)

"This is an old-fashioned tale, blending traditional storytelling with a deftly updated erotic candour."

Globe and Mail (December, 2002)

"an absorbing first novel, surprisingly mature and well-constructedthis is a book to pay attention to."

University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. 73, Number 1 (January, 2003)

"a compelling story, hauntingly written."

The Sun Times (Owen Sound, ON) (January, 2003)

"an entertaining book that provides an intimate look at family relationships."

Star Phoenix (Saskatoon, SK) (January, 2003)

About the Author

John Miller

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

John Miller

John Miller's first novel, The Featherbed, received stellar reviews and earned a devoted readership upon its release in 2002. Besides novels, Miller has written on culture and politics, and in his spare time he provides consulting services to local and international non-profit organizations and governments. He lives in Toronto