Calling the collection “an easy book to like,” she also said:
I think the best stories in this collection are the ones that remind me of expertly focussed spotlights. From a man whose relationship is probably disintegrating while his father’s love life takes off (“May the Road Rise”–great title) to a guy who sees his childhood friend resorting to violence (maybe) (“Hit”), there aren’t a lot of resolutions here, or many answers.
If you are familiar with the term tolerance for ambiguity, you probably learned it in a psychology or education class, but a reader of my acquaintance uses it to describe a reading style. Readers with a high tolerance for ambiguity don’t mind not having much backstory in a piece of fiction, provided we have some sense that there is a logical one. In a good story, we’re fine with not knowing why things happened, nor what the outcome is–if the author can shape the piece so that it works without those things.
“Six Million Million Miles” was, to me, the perfect story for the ambiguously tolerant (like me), because Bryson counters the randomness of writing any story about a few moments in anyone’s life with how random anyone’s life actually is.
All very nice.